ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), a key ally of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at the Centre and in Punjab, has made its decision regarding the vote on no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan which the party will announce after a final round of consultations with other allies in the ruling coalition.

This was stated by Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi while talking to a group of reporters after attending a consultative meeting of the party which continued for the second day here on Sunday.

“We have made our decision. Final consultation is under way with our colleagues,” Mr Elahi said, adding that his party was working together with the other two allies in the ruling coalition — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). He, however, did not name the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), which is also a part of the ruling coalition at the Centre.

The statement of Mr Elahi, who is also president of the party’s Punjab chapter, indicates that the PML-Q, MQM and BAP would make a joint decision.

Party will announce the decision after final round of consultations with other allies in ruling coalition

The consultative meeting was presided over by PML-Q’s ailing president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and attended by Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Moonis Elahi, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, Hussain Elahi and Chaudhry Imtiaz Ranjha.

Mr Elahi said it was agreed that the present assemblies would complete their five-year term, ending August 2023. He also said that a meeting with PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif could take place any time.

The Punjab Assembly speaker, who himself is a main contender for the office of the Punjab chief minister, said if they would join the opposition’s coalition, then they would definitely first resign from the ministries.

He also disclosed that Aun Chaudhry, a leader of the Jahangir Tareen group, had come to them for a meeting on Sunday and that he would convey the decision of his group in the next two days.

Responding to a question, Mr Elahi advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to continue his efforts, stating the Constitution and law were very clear and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser should abide by it.

The PML-Q had reportedly asked the prime minister to announce Mr Elahi as the replacement of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar before calling the National Assembly session to take up the opposition’s no-trust motion.

Earlier in the day, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Abdul Qayyum Niazi, who belongs to the PTI, and Special Assistant to the PM on Religious Harmony and Middle East Tahir Ashrafi called on Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervez Elahi and discussed with them the prevailing political situation in the country in the wake of opposition’s no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

Numbers game

Since the tabling of no-confidence motion by the opposition against the prime minister on March 8, the PML-Q has acquired a central role in the ongoing political drama despite having only five MNAs. It seems that the three other allies — MQM, BAP and GDA — are waiting for each other to make a decision.

Given the party position in the National Assembly, it is clear that if any two of the four allies make a decision to quit the ruling coalition, Prime Minister Khan will lose the majority in the 342-mnember house and political experts believe that in that scenario the onus of proving majority in the house would be on the prime minister.

As many as 17 MNAs belong to these four coalition parties or alliances and the ruling party had the support of 179 MNAs at present. It is interesting to note that there is a difference of 17 members between the treasury and the opposition in the National Assembly.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2022

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