Opposition to boycott NA session on PM Imran's vote of confidence: Fazl

Published March 5, 2021
Opposition MNAs will not attend the National Assembly session on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
Opposition MNAs will not attend the National Assembly session on Saturday. — Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Friday that no opposition member would attend the National Assembly session scheduled for Saturday, in which Prime Minister Imran Khan will seek a vote of confidence.

The announcement from the chief of the 10-party opposition alliance comes a day after the premier delivered an address to the nation, explaining why he was seeking a vote of confidence in the wake of the Senate elections in which the opposition managed to stage an upset.

"Tomorrow a session has been called in which no member of the opposition will take part," Rehman said while addressing a press conference in Sukkur. He added that the opposition will appoint a person to keep a lookout during the session for the "drama they are doing there".

Analyse: People will soon realise how much this Senate election has changed nature of the state and its direction

He said Yousuf Raza Gilani's victory was itself a no-confidence motion against the premier.

Rehman, who is also the chief of JUI-F, claimed that President Arif Alvi in his summary to summon Saturday's session had essentially stated that Prime Minister Imran had "lost the trust of the majority" and he, therefore, needed to seek a vote of confidence.

"So when the president talks about losing trust to call the session of the National Assembly, then this further strengthens the stance of the opposition," he said.

After the opposition's boycott, Rehman said, "this session will have no political importance" and the PTI government "will not be considered the representative government of this nation".

He said the PTI had been ruling with "a fake majority" until now and the same would be clearly exposed by the opposition boycott of the "one-sided proceedings".

The PDM chief said the tone in which Prime Minister Imran addressed the nation last night "reflected his defeat".

He said according to Imran, bidding had taken place in the Senate elections and asked the premier whom he was blaming for the same. "He is saying his own PTI members are sellouts," he added.

The government had announced Prime Minister Imran's decision to seek a vote of confidence hours after the ruling coalition suffered an upset on the Senate seat for the federal capital where Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost to the opposition’s joint candidate Gilani.

Rejected votes played a significant role in the upset with Gilani securing 169 votes as against 164 bagged by Shaikh, with the number of rejected votes exceeding the margin of victory.

'State of panic'

Rehman said Imran's vote of confidence on Saturday will also include the votes of 18 government MNAs who allegedly voted in favour of the opposition in the Senate polls, adding that "without this, it is not possible that he receives the vote of confidence with a majority of one or two people."

"When some people had sold their loyalties in the no-confidence vote against [Senate Chairman Sadiq] Sanjrani, this same Imran Khan had termed it the voice of their conscience," he said. "Today, why does he equate his own members not voting [for the PTI] to being sold?"

Responding to Prime Minister Imran's remarks that he would bring out the people against the opposition if he lost the vote of confidence, Rehman said: "Whom will you bring the people out against? Against the PDM? Why? On what grounds?

"People will not ask you about this, people will ask you why you destroyed the economy [and] why you weakened different institutions by sacking workers."

He alleged that the prime minister had blamed the ECP over the setback suffered by his party in order to "exert pressure [on the ECP] in the foreign funding case" against the PTI. "We know all of their tactics and in whichever colour you wear the garb, we recognise your height. So the nation can't be fooled any more," he added.

Asked whether the government lawmakers who voted in favour of the opposition were in contact with the PDM ahead of the NA session, Rehman replied in the negative.

He said the multiple meetings held by Prime Minister Imran after the Senate polls reflected the government's "state of panic".

"Everything has escaped from their hands and thus in Pakistan currently there is no government or executive. They (government) should immediately call for fresh elections and a real representative government of the nation should come," he claimed.

In response to a question, Rehman said the PDM's future plan of action, including the strategy for a planned long march, will be decided in a meeting of the alliance's leadership on March 8 in Islamabad.

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