'We reject the vote,' says Fazl after NA reaffirms confidence in PM Imran

Published March 6, 2021
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to reporters in Sukkur. — DawnNewsTV
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to reporters in Sukkur. — DawnNewsTV

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday announced that the opposition "rejects the confidence vote" cast in favour of Prime Minister Imran Khan during a National Assembly session earlier today.

Speaking to the media in Sukkur shortly after the NA session concluded, Rehman said the Constitution clearly stated that the president can summon a session "if he believes that the prime minister does not hold majority".

"Here, the session was called over a summary by the fake prime minister. Summary is not involved in summoning such sessions, all of this is a drama," said the JUI-F chief, who is not part of the NA. "We don't accept today's Assembly session, nor do we accept the confidence vote.

"This was not a confidence vote. We know which agencies watched the members of the assembly the entire night. [We know] who knocked on the doors of each member to ensure they were present."

Rehman, who is also the chief of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), alleged that MNAs were "forcefully" made to vote for Prime Minister Imran. He urged the premier to "be courageous and ask the public to cast a vote of confidence [by] conducting a new election".

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran secured 178 votes — six more than required — to win the vote of confidence from the NA.

Announcing the result, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser said that three years ago, Prime Minister Imran had been elected to the post with 176 votes. “Today, he has secured 178 votes,” he said.

The session was boycotted by the PDM.

Trust vote has 'no worth': Maryam

While speaking at an opposition event in Islamabad, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz praised a number of PML-N leaders who were allegedly manhandled by some PTI supporters ahead of the NA session.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

"My head is held high with pride, how you confronted a few dozen rented goons and forced them to run," she told the PML-N leaders. "You told the nation that the nation's representatives, lions, can overwhelm a few dozen goons."

Maryam said she was not surprised to see the visuals of the scuffle on television, saying "when a jackal's death comes then it runs towards the city".

She said when the PTI was in the opposition, its supporters "did hooliganism on the parliament like this and now that they're in government, even if through a false manner, they exhibited the same hooliganism today".

"So I'm happy that instead of us, they themselves told the 220 million people who were watching their hooliganism live on TV that they're immensely worried and that they may have taken the fake vote of confidence but they're on their way out," she added.

Maryam said she was sad about the way PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb was "attacked", over which she said the whole nation was saying "shame shame".

"[After] this shoe you threw at Ahsan Iqbal and the worst manners you demonstrated, I want to say that your days are counted," she told the PTI leadership. "The security in which you come and go, it will be taken from you very soon so try to venture out among the population without security, 220 million people are ready to attack you with shoes in hand."

She said although the PML-N believed in "morals and decent politics", it "will not forget" the alleged behaviour of the PTI. "The PMLN is not a charity party, if it battled goons and thieves with ethics before then it was good, but the confrontation with hooliganism is never done with ethics and morals, so remember the PML-N won't forget this," she cautioned.

Maryam said those who had "saved" Prime Minister Imran in today's vote of confidence had openly come out in front of the people. "The lease of life they'd taken from their institution, they will have to answer for that to their institution today, that why they saved a vote, flour, sugar thief from the wrath of the people," she said, adding that the "decision was taken" when Yousuf Raza Gilani won the Senate seat against PTI's Hafeez Shaikh.

"And no matter how much you try to change that decision through force, pressure or rigging, that decision can't be changed because it happened in the streets and corners of the four provinces of Pakistan."

Maryam claimed that the trust vote taken by the premier had "no worth" and it was a "non-event because you've taken it from your members on gunpoint".

"What worth does a vote have that you got by telling [MNAs] on gunpoint: 'Give me the vote or I won't spare you'?" she asked.

She said it was a matter of "shame" that the premier had taken vote of confidence from the same members whom he had accused of "being sold".

The PML-N leader alleged that fog "had suddenly descended upon the entire Islamabad" yesterday and the Parliament Lodges were turned into a "bunker", while government members were assigned to each of the 16 MNAs who had allegedly sold their votes in the Senate polls to ensure their presence for the vote of confidence.

"So this temporary relief that you've gotten of a few days, even death is better than this support of compromise. If there was a person with a little bit of respect, he would've said my elders did their best to save me but the people have decided.

"To the ones who saved [him], I want to say you shouldn't let your institution's respect be stained in your attempts to save a defeated person against whom the people of all four provinces have given a decision," she said.

Maryam further said the alleged rowdiness shown by PTI supporters outside Parliament House "was exactly a repeat of the culture of hooliganism and bullying that was introduced in the US. It was a repeat of when [Donald] Trump lost and he attacked the country as he went."

Referring to Prime Minister Imran, she added: "Now that this Pakistani Trump is going he too tried his best to save himself today but I want to say, in these few days of respite that you've gotten, be sure to pack thoroughly [and] don't leave anything behind in Prime Minister House."

'PDM exposed govt's fragility'

In his speech, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the PDM through its victory on the Senate seat from Islamabad had proven that while "politics is the art of the possible", it is also "the art of making the impossible possible".

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks at the event. — DawnNewsTV
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks at the event. — DawnNewsTV

Referring to the PTI-led government, he alleged that the "selected and puppet hybrid system" had prevented the opposition from doing its job through restrictions on the media and courts, and had set a "new precedent for political revenge".

"The PDM by playing this political card has exposed how fragile this government is, and if someone has any doubt about who won and lost yesterday then today they are seeing two pictures on their TV screens.

"They're seeing unity on one side, harmony and democracy and working together across the political spectrum. They're seeing us celebrate a democratic victory.

"And on the other side of the screen, there's a grumpy old man who sees the end is in sight, he's losing his senses, his frustration is visible to all, he can only communicate in anger," Bilawal said.

He claimed that even the president had now "accepted himself that Imran Khan has lost the parliamentary majority", adding that the vote of the confidence today did not show the same had changed. "By calling a rally of your party in the parliament, you don't prove that you have the parliamentary majority," he told the premier.

"These types of decisions will not be taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the decisions of when a no-confidence [vote] will happen and against whom and where will be taken by the PDM and this country's representative parties.

"We will bring a strategy in front of you after sitting together and we will tell you Khan sahib until when you, your speaker and your puppet interior minister are sitting on your chairs," he added.

The PPP leader said the PDM by deciding to contest the recent by-elections together in every province had proven that the parliament was not with the government. "The nation has rejected them and now the National Assembly too has rejected them," he added.

Bilawal condemned the alleged manhandling of PML-N lawmakers by PTI supporters outside the parliament, saying the behaviour being adopted by "Imran Khan's fascist government" was a threat to the entire democratic system.

"Khan sahib didn't condemn this attack or mention it, it just goes to show that Imran Khan has the same mentality as the thugs in the Parliament Lodges today," he alleged.

He said the PDM through its victory on a single Senate seat from Islamabad had held the government accountable on behalf of every Pakistani who had "suffered pain" and "economic terrorism" due to the government's policies.

He said unlike Imran, the PPP had never reached the corridors of power through the backdoor and will never do so in the future.

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