Fawad lobs ball in Punjab Assembly speaker’s court ahead of trust vote

Published December 21, 2022
PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry speaks to the media in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry speaks to the media in Lahore on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

LAHORE: Throwing the ball in the Punjab Assembly speaker’s court, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said it was up to the speaker to decide whether he wanted to take up the vote of confidence proceedings first, as directed by the governor, or that of the no-confidence vote, as moved by the opposition.

“Only the speaker, as the regulator of the house, can decide these matters,” Mr Chaudhry insisted while talking to the media outside the residence of PTI chief Imran Khan at Zaman Park. “We are ready for both,” he said.

When reminded that both the speaker and his deputy have also been served with no-confidence motions, he readily agreed that a panel of chairmen could be asked to do the job.

A PTI official, however, revealed that the presiding officer — whether the speaker or the panel of chairmen — was expected, or directed, to drop the vote of confidence move because the ruling coalition had to show the required number of votes in this case, which they feared might be hard to come by, especially if, as they suspected, around two dozens of MPAs of the Jahangir Khan Tareen group decided to abstain at the last moment.

Berates federal govt ‘for financially crippling KP’; party meeting today to ensure numbers in PA

Instead, the PTI plans to start proceedings on the no-confidence vote as moved by the opposition, which it is confident of defeating and then, armed with a moral ground of enjoying the confidence of the house, move the dissolution summary.

“That is what the plan is so far. The party also knows that its act (of choosing one option and dropping the other) would go to the court but that hardly matters in the overheated political wrangling,” he explained, adding that was what Fawad Chaudhry meant when he said that the speaker could decide which of the two proceedings he would like to take up first.

To ensure numbers, the PTI has convened a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday morning (today) to assess where it stands and decide how to proceed.

Mr Chaudhry also hinted to that effect when he told the media that Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi “will win the vote of confidence and move the dissolution summary. Dissolution would take place come what may and so would be elections”.

He also berated the federal government “for financially crippling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and compromising its ability to fight terrorism”.

“The federal government owes Rs120 billion to the province, which might have boosted its capacity to fight terrorism. It neither provided money to the provincial government nor did anything to pre-empt terrorism despite ample warning. We have been warning against increasing terrorism for the last six months but to no avail,” he said.

Meanwhile, PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi — who has been shuttling between his father and Imran Khan ever since Chaudhry Parvez Elahi delivered his blitzkrieg on the PTI dissolution politics — tweeted to claim after meeting Imran Khan on Tuesday that a “strategy to dissolve the Punjab Assembly has been finalised. The PDM can do whatever it can, it cannot escape elections that it is destined to lose. Victory belongs to Imran Khan”.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2022

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