ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz on Friday ridiculed Prime Minister Imran Khan over his decision to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly.
“Will you get a vote of confidence from the same lawmakers who you accuse of being thieves and crooks?” she asked.
She was talking to media after a meeting with the PML-N’s Azad Kashmir leadership, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.
Ms Nawaz said there was no prime minister in the country at the moment as members of the National Assembly had already expressed their lack of trust in Imran Khan.
“If you use institutions to intimidate the MNAs, it will be fruitless as they have already voted against you,” she said.
Says ECP stand on secret ballot is based on constitutional position
She claimed that after the no-confidence motion, the Pakistan Democratic Movement would unanimously decide the name of a new prime minister.
Asked about the response of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the premier’s criticism of it, she said: “Even the institutions have now realised what an actual Sicilian mafia looks like. PTI pressurises state institutions and has now targeted the ECP.”
She said the ECP’s position on secret ballot for the Senate polls was not its opinion but a constitutional position.
“The Constitution is very clear about secret ballot. Even the Supreme Court has upheld this position,” she said and added that only parliament could amend the Constitution to allow secret ballot for the Senate polls.
Reacting to the ruling party’s allegations about use of money in the Senate polls, she said: “When the PTI wins extra seats in the Senate elections in Balochistan, this is not an issue. When they rely on ATMs and give tickets to people who have no relation to the party, it is not an issue. But when they lose the Islamabad seat, it is an issue and they start targeting state institutions.”
Ms Nawaz said: “The PML-N was accused of making state institutions controversial but we accepted court verdicts and went to jail. Now the PTI is bullying state institutions.”
Referring to the PM’s decision to seek a vote of confidence, she said the irony of the situation was that the president had called the session of parliament through Article 91(7) of the Constitution, which stated that the president was satisfied that the prime minister did not command a majority in the National Assembly and the session was called for the premier to take a vote of confidence.
“PTI’s own president is saying that he is satisfied that Imran Khan does not have a majority in the National Assembly,” she said. “I congratulate the president for finally realising what the people of Pakistan realised in Daska, Nowshera and Sindh. I demand that the summary of the president’s notification to call the session of the National Assembly be made public so that the people could see where the PTI stands now.”
She added: “But how will Imran Khan ask his party’s MNAs to vote for him when he has accused them of having sold out their votes on television during his address to the nation.”
The PML-N leader also commented on the coming elections in Azad Kashmir and claimed that her party would sweep the polls if they are conducted in a free and fair way.
She adopted a strong tone and hurled warnings without naming anybody over any attempt to manipulate the election results.
“The political culture of the PML-N has changed now. It is not a party that will face injustice and keep its hands tied,” she said.
Referring to the Daska by-poll rigging scandal, she added: “If anyone tries to steal the mandate of the people, we will not let that happen.”
The PML-N leader criticised the government for challenging the ECP’s decision to suspend officials in the Daska rigging case.
Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021