PML-N in no-trust bid to stall efforts to wind up Punjab Assembly

Published December 18, 2022
This combination photo shows Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan. — Photo courtesy: Facebook/DawnNewsTV
This combination photo shows Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan. — Photo courtesy: Facebook/DawnNewsTV

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: In a bid to scuttle the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s possible move to dissolve the Punjab Assembly by next Friday, lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) signed a no-trust motion against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan.

The decision to sign no-trust motions against the CM and the speaker came after the directives of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who met party leaders at his residence in Lahore’s Model Town.

In addition to discussing the no-confidence motion against the CM, the meeting chaired by PM Sharif also mulled approaching the governor for a vote of confidence from the CM. During the meeting, Special Assistant on Interior Attaullah Tarar apprised the PML-N president that the motions would be submitted in the coming week since Imran Khan announced the dissolution of the assembly on Friday.

PML-N MPAs sign no-trust move

Earlier, scores of PML-N MPAs gathered at the residence of Rana Mashhood and signed motions against Mr Elahi and the PA speaker. “On the directives of the party leadership, the required number of MPAs signed the no-confidence motion against the chief minister and the speaker. As Imran Khan has announced the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly next Friday, we may submit the motion in the assembly before this,” PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari told Dawn. She said not only the no-trust motion was an option but the governor seeking a vote of confidence from the CM was also on the cards.

In response to a question about PML-N’s recent announcement of going to polls if assemblies were dissolved, Ms Bokhari said, “We are very much ready to contest the polls but at the same time we will play our cards wisely.”

A group of lawmakers led by MPA Mashhood also called on the Punjab governor and discussed the option of seeking a vote of confidence from the chief executive of the province.

‘Last resort’

A PML-N leader told Dawn that the party was working on both options. The PML-N insider said while the party was ready to go to polls, but first it would try to foil the dissolution plan through the no-trust motions. The leader termed the contesting elections against the PTI a “last resort”.

Sources claimed PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari was tasked with taking on board at least 10 MPAs of the ruling coalition to snatch the majority from the incumbent CM but he failed to deliver. Against this backdrop, the PML-N and PPP may face problems in making the no-confidence motion against the CM or the speaker successful.

The PTI is of the view that in light of the humiliating defeat of ‘lotas’ (turncoats) in July by-polls, no lawmaker from Imran Khan’s party “can even think of shaking hands with the party of Sharifs”.

Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz, who had gone into hibernation since his defeat at the hands of PTI-PML-Q candidate Parvez Elahi in the chief minister’s election in July, is currently in London with his uncle Nawaz Sharif. He will return to the country if the PML-N goes ahead with its plan of the no-confidence motion.

‘Land mines’ laid by PTI

In a statement, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif termed political stability a vital condition for economic prosperity and controlling inflation. “It is required for the sake of loyalty to Pakistan and allegiance, that there must be economic stability,” he said.

In a statement shared by PM’s Office, the prime minister said it was the “desire of someone that Pakistan get pushed into default, but neither would it happen, nor would they [PDM government] let it happen, InshaAllah”.

The people who had laid land mines in the economic foundations of the country, are out to do the same in the political foundations of the country, the prime minister said in a veiled reference to the PTI. The people who had hurt public confidence, were now out to dissolve assemblies, he said, adding their objective was to create political instability.

The “political miscreants” by spreading anarchy wanted to force the world not to invest in Pakistan, besides hampering the efforts for the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people, he added

Sana’s doubts

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah chided PTI Chairman Imran Khan over his much-talked-about plan to dissolve the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

In a statement, he said a competition was going on between Imran Khan and Parvez Elahi. The remarks came amid rumours that Mr Elahi was opposed to the proposal of assemblies’ dissolution and has been highlighting the pitfalls of the decision in behind the scene meetings.

“It is yet to be seen who takes a U-turn and who takes a smart turn,” he remarked. “Imran’s agenda is not to win elections, but to destroy the economy, and foreign funding and audio leaks have proved that he is not sincere with the country,” Mr Sanaullah claimed.

He said that whether Imran Khan dissolves the assemblies or not, he would be the one suffering the loss of political capital due to the decision.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2022

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