Zardari, Fazl review political chessboard

Two leaders craft their next move as politicians continue to wheel and deal

Our Correspondent March 19, 2022


Amid the rising political temperature in the capital as the no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan draws near, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman met at Zardari House to discuss the prevailing situation in the country and craft their next move as politicians continued to wheel and deal.

Earlier, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) cancelled the General Council and Convention meeting citing important engagements of senior party leaders. It is pertinent to mention that deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif was supposed to address the meeting.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman on Friday claimed that PM Imran has no authority to impose an emergency or governor’s rule as he has 'lost the support of the majority'.

On Thursday, the nation’s security czar Sheikh Rashid advised PM Imran to impose governor’s rule in the province of Sindh after the open show of dissent by PTI lawmakers, hiding on the pretext of seeking refuge in Islamabad’s Sindh House.

Fazl, referring to senior appointments and transfers by the government, said that after the no-trust motion, any transfer or appointment by the premier or the government would be unconstitutional.

The PDM chief further said any kind of posting, appointment or withdrawal by the premier would be considered wrong and would also be resisted.

The JUI-F chief’s remarks come after PM Imran assigned his principal secretary Azam Khan as the executive director of World Bank, which Fazl claimed was a clear example of “nepotism” and that Azam had been 'involved in both good and bad deeds'.

Deeds of vengeance?

Meanwhile, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said Prime Minister Imran Khan's magic number 172 – that enabled PTI to form a government at the centre - has been reduced by several degrees, warning that any government official that stoops down to take illegal revenge will be put to task.
Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad, Iqbal said the government has been in a dilemma since the introduction of the no-confidence motion.

“More than 10 PTI members have stopped supporting Imran Khan. He has lost his position as prime minister. They cannot issue any policy order once the procedure of the code is completed,” he said. “It is illegal to allow his principal secretary to visit the World Bank. The government administration is working illegally through NAB and FIA.”

The former minister alleged that PM Imran is adopting a new tactic of approaching the Supreme Court in the wake of the no-trust vote.

“He has bargained for six PML-N Punjab Assembly members. Imran Khan considers it legitimate to take on board members of other parties but when someone takes his members he deems it horse trading. If this is horse trading then Imran should first apologise to the nation.”

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah said there is no interference in politics at present. “When the politics of vengeance and nefarious tactics comes to an end, Nawaz Sharif will become the prime minister for the fourth time.”

Read: FIR sought against PM Imran for 'threatening' Zardari

Responding to a question, Sanaullah said the provision of justice will be possible as soon as the era of revenge and vile tactics is over. “Appeals of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are pending. These appeals will be decided and their disqualification will end.”

The PML-N Punjab president went on to add that the National Assembly speaker has become a member of Imran Khan’s Tiger Force. “These people don't even read the rules and the law. I challenge the devil of Pindi and the drum of Jhelum. Bring evidence of giving money to deviant members. Giving money to someone is unimaginable.”

He maintained that dozens of members belonging to the sitting government have not made a single demand. “We will answer stone with bricks. We will demonstrate what a protest is. There will be a political adjustment with the people we have talked to. The parties have a lot of space. About a dozen people will be adjusted.”

On the other hand, in a sheer warning to the prime minister, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb advised PM Imran to “not incite violence and rioting but go home.”

She suggested that he should hire professional services to pack his bags for an efficient and speedy exit from the PM House.


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