PESHAWAR: Opposition parties in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly have announced that they will employ all constitutional and legal means to prevent the dissolution of the provincial assembly by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Awami National Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party met at the residence of Opposition Leader in the provincial assembly Akram Khan Durrani on Sunday night to chalk out a strategy to respond to former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan’s announcement that his party’s members would quit assemblies.

The participants said they decided that all constitutional and legal means would be used to block the dissolution of the assembly.

They also said that the meeting discussed the options of no-confidence motion against the chief minister, governor’s rule and moving of the court to stop the ruling PTI from dissolving the assembly.

Leaders discuss no-trust against CM, governor’s rule, court case

ANP parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly Sardar Hussain Babak told Dawn that the opposition leadership agreed to thwart the PTI’s “attempts to sow chaos in the province” by using all legal and constitutional options.

Mr Babak said any decision would be made in view of the developing political situation.

The ANP leader said the PTI, in its nine years ‘misrule’ had played havoc with the province’s economy and governance.

“The PTI’s threat of assembly dissolution by resigning en bloc is blackmailing and shows its growing frustration,” he said.

However, PPP MPA Nighat Orakzai insisted that there was a consensus among opposition parties on the challenging of the assembly’s dissolution in the court of law.

She said the opposition parties required 27 more MPAs for pulling off a successful no-confidence motion against the chief minister.

The opposition lawmaker said the assembly dissolution announcement was also motivated by the deteriorating economic situation of the province.

She said the province’s economy was a shambles, so the ruling PTI had threatened to dissolve the assembly.

Ms Orakzai, however, said the assembly dissolution would be an undemocratic move by the PTI.

PML-N lawmaker Ikhtiar Wali said the opposition parties had decided their course of action both in face of resignations by PTI members or the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

He said the opposition parties had also discussed the imposition of the governor’s rule, which was otherwise not an appropriate option.

“We will think about the imposition of the governor’s rule as the last resort,” he said.

The opposition member, however, said the combined opposition won’t allow the “sacrifice of the KP Assembly at the altar of [PTI chief] Imran Khan’s wishes.”

He said the PTI’s nine years long rule had ruined the province’s economy, so it wanted a safe exit.

Mr Wali said the opposition parties were in contact with the Balochistan Awami Party and Jamaat-i-Islami over the evolving political situation in the province.

ANP MPA and senior lawyer Khushdil Khan said if all 95 PTI members resigned, the house won’t be dissolved and instead, by-elections would be held for vacant seats.

He said even if the assembly was dissolved, the chief minister would have to come up with a good reason for the move.

“The opposition parties can challenge the assembly dissolution order in the court of law,” he said.

The ruling PTI and opposition parties have 95 and 45 members in the 143-strong KP Assembly respectively.

In April this year, the opposition parties had to withdraw their no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Mahmood Khan following the ouster of the PTI government in the centre. The provincial assembly had reposed confidence in the leader of the house with 80 out of 94 PTI votes.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022



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