Pakistan Muslim League-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Tuesday said that the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has the support of “more than required” lawmakers to pass the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly, warning that there are “plenty of surprises in store”.
The PML-Q, which is also an ally of the PTI government in Punjab, has assumed much more importance since opposition parties stepped up efforts to dislodge the government through a no-trust move. In order for such a move to succeed, the opposition would require PML-Q's votes in the National Assembly. The party has five seats in the NA.
Elahi, in an interview with HUM News anchor Meher Bokhari today, was asked to comment on PPP Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s claim that the opposition has more than 172 lawmakers’ support in the National Assembly. To this, Elahi concurred and said: “He (Zardari) is right. They have the required number … even have more than what one can imagine. This is what we have assessed and seen.”
The PML-Q leader said the government was itself to blame for the position it was in, saying that it never learned how to build relationships and instead “ruined things with everyone, including its own people”.
Elahi said that he has already been offered Punjab’s chief ministership as well as electoral alliance — including seat-to-seat adjustment — by the opposition alliance but the government has yet to make that offer.
When asked why he hasn’t accepted the offer yet, Elahi said: “The wait is that what would the government do. Maybe the government might do the same.”
Elahi said that the option of seat adjustment had been discussed with the PTI in the past but "then they should also stay true to their words."
Without naming PM Imran, Elahi implied that the commitments made to his party had not been honoured. "They are old enough now ... they are not children anymore. They should at least rectify their track record or people won't have trust in you."
He admitted that there was trust deficit with the PML-N as well, adding that Zardari intervened and gave the PML-Q his guarantee. "He (Zardari) clearly said that if you do not want to do it with them (PML-Q) then I also won't be a part of this game. That's when the PML-N got serious."
He accused the government of forcing the National Accountability Bureau to target the PML-Q, including its leader Moonis Elahi, who is also a federal minister. "The NAB officials said that there are no cases to be made against them so then they ordered the NAB that 'if you keep on looking you will find something.'"
Without naming any names, the PML-Q leader said that "the work carried out on the government's behalf never allowed it to learn things for itself."
"The child will learn to walk only when you put him down," he said metaphorically. "Would you keep on changing nappies all his life?"
Elahi ruled out the possibility of early elections, saying that PPP's Zardari has told him that the five-year tenure of the lawmakers would be completed.
Earlier in the interview, the PML-Q leader urged both the government and the opposition to call off their planned power shows, saying that such confrontations would not be in the interest of the country and not benefit anyone.
He urged the government to move first and call off its planned political gathering for March 27, saying that would put pressure the opposition to do the same.