Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) provincial president Pir Sabir Shah assured his party the no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak will be followed through at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. However, no assembly session has been called or requisitioned as yet.
Shah was speaking to party workers near the Kabul River View in Nowshera on Wednesday. He questioned how PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri could ask for the resignation of an elected prime minister.
The two leaders are simply trying to derail the democratic system, added Shah. Imran Khan cannot overthrow an established government with a handful of people, said the party president.
The flip side
However, insiders told The Express Tribune Khattak’s position was “safe as the PML-N had no interest in sending him packing through a vote of no confidence.” They said the party would not do so because it feared the move would create a backlash for the Punjab government.
“The Nawaz-league is the main hurdle in uniting the opposition,” said a person familiar with the matter.
Just a preemptive strike
Other sources reiterated opposition members had just wanted to restrain Khattak from dissolving the assembly when he moved a requisition for this purpose after a speech on the topic was given by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The motion, filed by the K-P assembly’s opposition benches, was submitted jointly by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Pakistan Peoples Party, PML-N, Awami National Party (ANP) and Qaumi Watan Party on August 19. However, there has not been an assembly session since. It is unclear as to how long the motion submitted will remain valid.
When contacted, ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said it was the opposition’s constitutional right to halt the dissolution of the provincial legislature. “As chief minister, he has the privilege to ask for the dissolution of the assembly, but as the opposition we maintain the right to stop such a move,” said Babak.
Meanwhile, the coalition partners in the provincial government assured their full support for Khattak, saying they were against the no-confidence motion moved in the K-P Assembly.
Jamaat-e-Islami said it would stand by the chief minister. “We are their allies in the provincial government and will not let him down,” said Muhammad Iqbal, the media coordinator for JI Chief Sirajul Haq. He said no requisition for a session had been submitted by the opposition benches, proving they were not interested in following through with the motion.
Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) chief Shahram Khan Tarakai told The Express Tribune his party would also support Khattak at all cost.
In a statement last month, Tarakai said the fact his workers were present at the Azadi march in Islamabad clearly demonstrated the AJIP supported Khattak. He vowed the party would stand by the chief minister.
Besides the coalition partners, 14 PTI lawmakers, who are disgruntled with their party, said they would resist the vote of no confidence and assured the chief minister of their complete support.
Towards the end of August, K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser announced the no-confidence motion against the chief minister had been sent to the law department. “Although the no-confidence vote against the CM is the legal right of opposition parties, members of the assembly must respect each other,” Qaiser said at the time, adding all legal procedures must be complied with.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.