Some parties back PPP's no-confidence move against PM: Raja Pervaiz

Published January 27, 2021
PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf speaks to DawnNewsTV. — Photo courtesy video screengrab provided by Nadir Guramani
PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf speaks to DawnNewsTV. — Photo courtesy video screengrab provided by Nadir Guramani

Despite PML-N's misgivings about PPP's proposal of moving a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said his party would try to convince those who had reservations, adding that "some parties are already onboard".

Talking to DawnNewsTV on Wednesday, the former prime minister said "moving a no-confidence motion against the prime minister is a democratic option," pointing out that the ruling PTI had a "thin majority" in Punjab and the Centre.

"Some parties are onboard [with the idea of] a no-confidence motion but some have reservations which will be resolved by sitting together. We have the PDM forum where we will present our [suggestion] and will listen to them (the opposing parties)," he added.

Ashraf said the PPP wanted to "use all constitutional options against the government".

Speaking about the reasons behind the PPP's efforts to overthrow the ruling party, Ashraf said "democracy is in danger because of the incumbent government".

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had last week voiced the possibility of sending the PTI government packing through a no-confidence motion and said all member parties of the PDM – a 10-party opposition alliance seeking to oust the government – will be convinced to use this option and reach consensus on the issue.

However, his suggestion was immediately challenged by the PML-N, with Ahsan Iqbal demanding Bilawal "show numbers" to back up his proposal.

Yesterday, in a parliamentary meeting of the PML-N, which was chaired by Maryam Nawaz, several members of the party had termed the proposal to move a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan “impractical”.

Speaking to reporters after attending the meeting, Maryam said Bilawal had said he would explain his proposal before the PDM leadership and now the matter would be discussed at the opposition alliance’s platform.

However, sources said given the rejection of the idea in the party meeting, the party asked PDM secretary general Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to take up the matter with the PPP and PDM leaders.

'No-confidence move failed last time'

Earlier, in a press conference a day after Bilawal spoke about introducing a no-confidence motion, PML-N's Iqbal said: "We think if Bilawal Bhutto sahab has the numbers to bring a no-confidence motion then he should certainly show them.

"We saw [previously] in the Senate where we had the [majority] numbers but [despite that] the no-confidence motion was not successful so there is only one path we should follow, and that is to pursue a decisive long march against this government."

The PML-N leader was referring to the opposition's failure in passing a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in July 2019 when several members of opposition parties had ditched the party leadership by either voting against their own resolution or deliberately wasting their votes.

As many as 64 members of the opposition had risen in their seats to approve the motion seeking permission to move the no-trust motion against Sanjrani.

However, when it came to secret balloting, only 50 of the opposition senators had voted in favour of the resolution, causing serious distrust between the PPP and PML-N with leaders of both parties suspecting each other of foul play.

In his press conference on Saturday last week, Iqbal said that the PML-N was also not in favour of in-house change proposed by another party in the PDM.

“In-house change can be a proposal of any other opposition party, but we are not in favour of it as it is not a viable option. For this, horse-trading will have to be done and we are not in favour of it. In the Senate chairman (Sanjrani) election, we witnessed how 64 votes of the opposition were reduced to 52. This game will have to be played again for in-house change,” he said.

He further emphasised that a long march was the PDM's only option to oust the government, adding that the PPP chairman's suggestion of a no-confidence motion was an old one.

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