SUKKUR: The opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday announced that it would abstain from a session of the National Assembly called on Saturday (today) for the purpose of requiring the prime minister to seek a vote of confidence, calling it a futile exercise by Imran Khan for face-saving after the lower house of parliament already rejected him as the premier in the recent Senate elections.

The announcement came from PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman a day after President Dr Arif Alvi summoned the NA session under Article 91 (7) of the Constitution.

Maulana Fazl, who is also chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), referred to the text of the notification issued by the National Assembly Secretariat which, he said, was self-explanatory in the recent situation and further strengthened the opposition’s narrative.

Calling it a futile exercise, Maulana Fazl says assembly no more trusts PM

“The president in the notification mentioned the reason for the National Assembly session,” the Maulana said while talking to reporters at the residence of a local JUI-F leader. “The notification says that since it emerges that you [PM Khan] have lost confidence of majority of members in the recent Senate elections, as the prime minister you should take a fresh vote from the members [MNAs]. What does it suggest? That’s the thing that we [opposition parties] are saying. The National Assembly no more trusts the PM. The success of [Yousuf Raza] Gilani has proved this fact. There is no need to [call] any session for that. The PDM members would not attend that session,” he declared.

The PDM chief said that since no members of the opposition parties would be present in the National Assembly on Saturday, the session would fail to create any political impact and the ruling party would get nothing but face-saving. He said the people of Pakistan knew this “fake exercise” well and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government could not make them fool anymore.

The Maulana also lashed out at Prime Minister Khan for his recent “attack” against the Election Commission of Pakistan. “After losing from every democratic and legal front, he [PM Khan] now blamed the Election Commission for their defeat. It’s not that simple. We know why the Election Commission has come under their [PTI government] radar. It’s only a tactic to pressurise the ECP which is probing the foreign funding case. You may keep changing your masks, we will identify you. We know what you think and what you want,” he added.

In reply to a question about PM Khan’s meeting with the military leadership after the defeat of a key ruling party candidate in the Senate election and before his televised address to the nation, Maulana Fazl said it was a “move in panic” but it would not lead to anything positive for the government.

“It shows the level of panic they are in. But let me tell you: things have gone out of their hands. They have lost everything. Such moves would no more work,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021

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