Next three days crucial, says Fazl about no-trust move

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM) chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that the coming two to three days are “ important” during which the common opposition will make a final decision regarding submitting a vote of no- confidence stir against the government or requesting the session of congress.

This was stated by the Maulana during an informal converse with a group of journalists at his hearthstone then on Wednesday.
Claiming that opposition parties have the figures needed for the success of the no- confidence stir, he said they had been trying to get the support of further than 180 members in the 342- member lower house of congress.

Still, Maulana Fazl, who’s also the head of his own body of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), said they hadn’t yet decided whether they would bring the no- confidence stir against National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser or Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding consultations within the opposition parties as well as with the legal platoon were underway.

In order to make the no- confidence stir against the high minister successful, the common opposition requires the support of 172 MNAs. Still, for the success of the vote of no- confidence stir against the speaker or the deputy speaker, a simple maturity of the members is needed. The voting on the stir against a speaker or deputy speaker is conducted through a secret ballot whereas an open vote by division is needed for the analogous stir against the high minister.

The JUI-F chief said he was constantly in contact with the leaders of opposition parties, including former chairman Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chairman Shehbaz Sharif. He expressed the stopgap that he’d be having a meeting with the two leaders in the coming couple of days.

Coming 48 hours
Interestingly, JUI-F leader and sanctioned spokesperson for the PDM Hafiz Hamdullah issued a statement after the Maulana’s converse with journalists, in which he quoted the Maulana as saying that the opposition would submit the no- confidence stir in the coming 48 hours.

Mr Hamdullah said Maulana Fazl had told the journalists that he wasn’t in contact with the “ establishment” and that he wasn’t apprehensive of any similar connections by PML-N or PPP. He said opposition parties had been amicable that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government should be ousted. The Maulana said the opposition hadn’t yet decided the strategy to deal with the situation after the junking of the government.

In an apparent reference to the military establishment, the Maulana said it sounded that the “ judges” were neutral. He declared that the opposition wasn’t interested in seeking any support from the establishment, rather it wanted the establishment to stop supporting the government.

After publicizing their decision to move the no- confidence stir, the opposition parties established connections with the PTI abettors and sought their cooperation. According to an bigwig, the opposition parties are cautious of the fact that they can not go to see their no- confidence move failing at this pivotal time when choices are simply 20 months down. Thus, he said, the no- confidence stir against the high minister would only be tabled when they were 100 per cent sure about its chances of success.

The bigwig said it was true that some displeased members of PTI were in contact with the opposition, but that wasn’t sufficient to complete the figures needed for the no- confidence move to succeed and they would surely be taking the support of all or some of the PTI abettors, including the PML-Q, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Also, he said, it would not be possible for the PTI members to support the no- confidence stir as there would be an open vote and they could face dereliction under Composition 63-A of the constitution.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, it may be recalled, rushed to Lahore on Tuesday to meet the Chaudhrys of PML-Q to be assured that they still supported him and his government in these tough times. The PM inquired after an ailing Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who not only reportedly assured Mr Khan of their “ unyielding support” to the government, but also expressed their lack of trust in the “ Sharifs, who dumped us in the history. We know them all, and don’t trust them”.

Parliament session
According to sources, the opposition parties are seriously considering convening the session of the National Assembly or the common session of congress to caff the government on the lately- announced two controversial bills, including the one amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016.

Besides the opposition parties, the intelligencers and media bodies, attorneys’ associations and civil society members have rejected the Peca constitution nominating it an attempt to put further checks on media freedom.

After talking to the representatives of media and intelligencers’ bodies in Lahore on Monday, PML-N chairman Shehbaz Sharif had stated that his party would table a resolution in a common session of congress to demand the controversial correction be repealed.

“ We’re going to importunity a common congress session (of congress) seeking repeal of Peca correction constitution,” he said.

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