Cautious opposition: No no-confidence motion, yet

Rise in petroleum prices evoke protests; ANP comes to govt’s rescue.

Zia Khan January 04, 2011
Cautious opposition: No no-confidence motion, yet

ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties on Monday intensified criticism of the government’s economic policies in the National Assembly, but appeared to be shying away from posing any direct threat to an administration that has lost parliamentary majority.

There was hardly any direct reference to a no-trust motion against the prime minister as the house met for the first time since the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) decided to quit the ruling coalition.

As Prime Minster Yousaf Raza Gilani remained busy in Lahore in trying to find new partners to keep his fragile ruling coalition intact, several cabinet members in the house appeared humbled by the latest political developments.

Amid anti-government chants and desk-thumping by opposition lawmakers and back-to -back walkouts against  the increase in petroleum prices, the Awami National Party (ANP), the only remaining ally, came to the government’s rescue.

ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan suggested that parliamentary leaders from all political parties should have a meeting with Premier Gilani on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of reducing petroleum prices back to their previous level.

The proposal proved to be a breather for the government as Deputy Speaker Faisal Kundi adjourned the house for Tuesday afternoon after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also endorsed it.

MQM members, who staged a token walkout from the house to protest against the fuel price increase, followed by members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), had some reservation on the adjournment motion, but Kundi decided to go ahead with it.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the increase in petroleum prices last month had shaken the government.

“The government is scrambling … it is facing problems because of its own actions. It has lost many opportunities to improve governance, but it still has a chance if the prime minister announces a strategy to resolve problems,” Nisar said in his speech.

He then asked the government to immediately announce a withdrawal of the increase; the demand punctuated by desk thumping and sloganeering from members of his party.

But a more direct threat to the government came from PML-N’s Khwaja Saad Rafiq who called for improving governance and throwing out whom he described as corrupt ministers. “All of you will be going home if you don’t improve governance,” Rafiq said while addressing members of the treasury benches.

Published in The Express Tribune, January  4th, 2011.


Umair Mallick | 13 years ago | Reply Well said Asmat. Let the army come out and roll the bad heads. But can the army really do it? I think it is upto the masses. Army came several times in past but again every progress they made is reversed later by these corrupt parties.. It is now job of the young, old, men, women, students, professionals, teachers, lawyers, civil servants, mass media and every single citizen to come out and roll those heads. Let it be civil disobedience or a revolution... IT IS TIME NOW
Asmat Jamal | 13 years ago | Reply If PPP can't do it with 128 members , how could PML N do it with 91. The next parliament is also likely to be a hung Parliament and not very different from the present one except PPP will loose few seats to PMLn in Punjab and ANP will loose few seats to JUI F in Pakhtunkhwa. JUI F will loose few seats to PKMAP , and PMLQ will loose few seats to Baloch Nationalist Parties in Balochistan.MQM is likely to retain its Karachi Seats and PPP its Sindh seats. So how will the next government function. Will they also survive on day to day blackmailing basis. PML N is not coming forward because they know how difficult country Pakistan has become because of corruption. If PM Gilani is replaced by Nawaz Sharif, will it mend the ways of Police and its SHO, a Patwari, a revenue officer, a civil bureaucrat, an FBR officer, PIA staff. Nothing is going to change because we as a nation has reached a point of no return. But there is still an opportunity and that is rolling of heads of few thousand corrupt, dacoits, thugs and religious bigots. Pakistan Army come forward and do it otherwise those who are killing the innocents today will become ROBIN HOODS
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