• Maryam asks institutions not to protect what has run out
• Bilawal, Fazl condemn attack on parliamentarians by PTI workers

ISLAMABAD/SUKKUR: The opposition on Saturday claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan obtained a fresh vote of confidence by forcing the ruling coalition lawmakers to back him at gunpoint and with the help of “institutions” and “agencies”.

“Institutions should not bring a bad name to themselves by protecting him (PM). Leave the thing which has run out. Accept people’s decision,” said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz while addressing opposition’s reception at Sindh House soon after PM Khan obtained a fresh vote of confidence from the National Assembly.

Leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Ms Nawaz witnessed the PM’s speech in the National Assembly at Sindh House and later addressed the gathering there.

“There is no worth of the vote of confidence secured by the prime minister from the lower house today as it was obtained by putting ruling coalition’s own MNAs at gunpoint,” Ms Maryam alleged, adding that nothing was hidden from where phone calls were coming and how agencies were activated. People would come to know everything soon, she said. The PML-N vice president said by taking a vote of confidence from the National Assembly the prime minister had tried to overcome humiliation the government had faced in the recent Senate election. She said it was quite ironic and humiliating for the rulers that the PM sought a vote of confidence from those MNAs who he had called “saleable” just two days ago.

“The parliament lodges were virtually turned into bunkers and all its exit points were sealed and one person each has been deputed to watch 16 MNAs of the ruling alliance, who are believed to be involved in alleged horse-trading in recent senate polls,” she added.

The people of the country, she said, already gave their decision against the PTI government that had faced defeat during the recent by-elections on National Assembly seats from all four provinces.

About manhandling of the PML-N leaders by the PTI workers at D-Chowk in front of Parliament House, where the PTI had staged a 120-day sit-in in 2014 to topple the PML-N regime, she said misbehavior of the PTI workers with Marriyum Aurangzeb was a shameful act. “Today, heads of all Pakistanis have bowed with shame as a daughter of a soil (Marriyum Aurangzeb) was maltreated by PTI goons,” she said.

Addressing the presser, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the PDM would decide where and when a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan, his speaker (NA) and “puppet” chief ministers would be moved.

He said the victory of Yousuf Raza Gilani in Senate polls proved that not only politics was the art of possibilities but it was also an art of making impossible, possible. “The grumpy old man (PM) is frustrated over Gilani’s win,” he added.

Talking about PTI workers attack on PML-N leaders outside the Parliament House, the PPP chief said: “Attacking parliamentarians, especially women parliamentarians, is the tradition of Imran Khan and his goons and it is not the culture and attitude of Pakistan People Party to raise hand on women. I, on behalf of the entire PDM, condemn the attack on PML-N parliamentarians in strongest possible words,” he added.

He said the puppet had been given an impression that (he and his string pullers) were on one page and he was here to stay for not only five or 10 years, but forever. “Due to the Charter of Democracy signed by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the peaceful transfer was made possible,” he added.

Mr Bilawal said members had proved that Mr Khan had lost majority in the National Assembly and the prime minister could not prove his majority by inviting a procession of his party goons to the parliament. “This puppet cannot compete against the plan of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ex-president Zardari and ex prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The PDM in a short time took big decisions. Imran Khan has degraded the National Assembly and there was a very small space for the PDM but it is enough for us to expose this puppet,” he added.

He said the government was a threat to the system and it was unfortunate that the prime minister did not condemn the attack on PML-N parliamentarians. “This attitude tells that Khan is neither a democrat nor political. Using foul language and levelling accusations is the practice of Imran Khan. He (PM) should have learned how to be a prime minister from Yousuf Raza Gilani,” he added.

Later, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman while talking to the media in Sukkur rejected the vote of confidence taken by the prime minister and called for re-elections in the country. “If he (PM) is brave enough he should get votes from the people directly in re-elections. We do not accept the vote of confidence taken by him today,” he added.

He condemned the attack on the PML-N leaders by PTI workers and warned the ruling party that the opposition knew how to respond to such tactics. “What word the PML-N leaders had uttered at D-Chowk for which they were manhandled by PTI workers,” he added.

The PDM leader said: “We know who kept knocking the doors of MNAs at parliament lodges and strictly watched them? The government should reply. We knew everything that who forcibly got votes from the members.”

He said the PDM would meet on March 8 to finalise its plan for a long march on Islamabad on March 26.

JUI-F leaders Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021

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