ISLAMABAD: Applauding the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for considering the option of tabling a no-confidence motion against the government, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that there is now a high probability of the opposition parties working together in the future.
“If they (PDM) are ready to withdraw their stance on the issue of en mass resignations and consider my proposal of bringing a no-confidence motion, then certainly there is a possibility that we can work together,” said the PPP chairman while talking to reporters outside the Parliament House on Tuesday.
In response to a question, Mr Bhutto-Zardari categorically ruled out any possibility of moving a no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the upper house of the parliament where the opposition is in a majority.
Praises PDM for considering option of no-trust move against govt
“Perhaps, we don’t have the numbers to remove the Senate chairman. Secondly, the government will not fall by bringing a no-confidence motion in the Senate. It will not bring down poverty and price hike. If we want to bring the people out of the crisis, then we will have to get rid of (Prime Minister) Imran Khan,” the PPP chairman said when asked if they were considering the option of a no-trust motion in the Senate.
It may be mentioned that the PPP has given the call for a long march against the government on February 27 whereas the PDM, an alliance of eight opposition parties, has announced that it will organise a march to Islamabad against price hike on March 23.
When asked about the possibility of the PPP and the PDM holding the march together, the PPP chairman said that he believed that the two different long marches would create more difficulties for the government. He said the PPP believed that March 23 was too far for holding the long march, adding that there was a pressure from within the party as well as the masses to launch protests at the earliest.
Lashing out at the government over the mini-budget and the State Bank of Pakistan bill, the PPP chairman said Pakistan had already been facing an economic crisis before the mini-budget. “The people are being crushed under this burden. The PPP has already decided that it will take to the street against this incompetent government and will start the long march from Karachi on February 27,” he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PPP would not resort to any undemocratic option to dislodge the present set-up. He declared that the present Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government would be dislodged only through democratic means.
“(During our long march) we will pass through the constituencies of their (PTI’s) MNAs and allies and show them the demand of the people, which is to be liberated from the tyranny of this new Pakistan,” he said, adding that whenever the PPP had launched a long march against the incumbent government, the latter had been damaged.
Darkness of night
He regretted that the SBP bill was bulldozed by the government in the darkness of night around midnight. “Counting was not done, our amendments were not heard,” he said, terming it “the biggest economic attack on the country in its history.”
After this legislation, he claimed that the SBP would not be answerable to the government, the parliament, judiciary and the people. Rather, he said, it would be run on the dictation of international financial institutions.
“The account of our defence budget will be in the SBP and the government, parliament or the judiciary will have no control over it. Our defence expenditures would be available to the world for threadbare scrutiny and our nuclear programme will be in danger,” he said, alleging that the PTI government had attacked the country’s economic sovereignty and democratic liberties.
Responding to a question about rumours regarding imposition of emergency through the president, the PPP chairman said there was no such provision in the constitution. He said the history was witness to the fact that “our country has been dismembered under this presidential system”.
In response to a question regarding the rise of religious parties in the recently-held local government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and linking the victory of the religious parties with the changes in Afghanistan, the PPP chairman said the first phase of the local body elections in KP was in fact a referendum against this government and it was not in support of the Taliban. He said all the opposition parties outperformed the PTI in those elections and expressed the hope that in the second phase of the polls, the PTI would face more humiliation at the hands of the opposition parties.
PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman after his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on January 12 had announced that he had convened a meeting of the heads of component parties of the alliance on January 25 to discuss “options” to dismantle the present set-up under the PTI which included tabling of a no-confidence motion against the government.
Maulana Fazl, who is also the head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), asked the allies of the ruling coalition to make a confession that “their decision to form an alliance has not benefited the nation”.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2022