Vote of conscience?

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Vote of conscience?


Both the sides claiming that they have required numbers, but equation certainly appears to be favouring opposition

The country’s political temperature is constantly on the rise since the day joint opposition brought the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Both the sides are claiming that they have the required numbers, but the equation certainly appears to be favouring the Opposition at the moment, especially after around 24 MNAs belonging to the treasury benches surfaced at the Sindh House, Islamabad, announcing to vote against the premier.

Though these MNAs claim that they are unhappy with the ruling party’s policies and will vote according to their conscience on the voting day expected on March 28, unconfirmed reports say that almost each of them has been lured to change their loyalties by the Opposition parties for a substantial amount of money.

Disgruntled PTI MNA Ramesh Kumar told Bol News that as many as 33 PTI legislators, including three federal ministers, have decided to quit the PTI’s ship.

Reliable sources, however, confirmed that at least two dozen legislators will vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan when the no confidence motion would be brought for the vote. All these MNAs will contest the next general elections on the tickets of either the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).


Nadeem Afzal Chan and Imtiaz Safdar Warraich have already joined the PPP and other electable politicians, who had left the PPP and the PML-N before the 2013 and 2018 general elections, are likely to rejoin their old parties, sources said.

Raja Riaz, one of the key members of the disgruntled Jahangir Khan Tareen Khan group, said that he would vote as per his conscience. “This is our democratic right and the government cannot stop us from voting. We are here in the Sindh House because we have been receiving threats of dire consequences, but let me tell them that they cannot stop us.”

Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, while speaking to this scribe, said that he had evidence of money being given to the PTI legislators by the opposition parties and he would show that in every form. “In such a scenario, the only option left is the Governor’s Rule in Sindh,” he said. A proposal already shot down by the PTI’s central leadership.

According to the sources, during a consultation meeting of the PTI’s political committee held Bani Gala on Friday, Sheikh Rashid advised the premier to impose Governor’s rule in Sindh and his views were endorsed by two other federal ministers. However, the other legislators were of the opinion that this would further complicate the situation, they said.

A summary about the Governor’s Rule was submitted to the premier but no decision was reached, they said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan also gave a nod to start legal proceedings against the legislators who are jumping the PTI ship.

“We will come up with appropriate measures or legislation that would end horse trading in the country once and for all,” one of the sources claimed quoting the PM.


During the meeting, the premier also said that the people are talking about a minus one policy, which is completely out of question and not going to happen under any scenario.

He added that it is fortunate that both the MQM-P and the PML-Q had proposed a minus-Imran Khan formula in a bid to save the PTI-led government.

This meeting was arranged to discuss the legal options available to the federal government to act against the disgruntled legislators and counter opposition’s move to dislodge the government.

The premier also advised the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the disgruntled members.

“Why is the ECP sleeping now? They took notice of Imran Khan’s speech in the Swat rally but cannot see in broad daylight how the opposition parties are bribing our legislators to change loyalties,” a senior PTI leader said on the condition of anonymity.

However, a senior PPP leader and one of the country’s leading lawyers, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan said that the PTI cannot initiate any legal proceeding against its legislators before the vote of no-confidence and even if they vote against the premier, it would be counted but they might be de-seated or disqualified after the vote. “But in that case, too, their vote would still be counted and the constitution is very clear about it,” said Aitzaz.


During the meeting at Bani Gala, it was decided that the government would approach the Supreme Court for interpretation of Article 63-A as scores of PTI legislators have announced to vote on the no-trust motion, in a violation of the party’s policy, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said. “We would also request them to conduct the proceedings on a daily basis.”


Moonis Elahi in London

In an interesting development, Federal Minister Moonis Elahi, the son of PML-Q leader and Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, landed in London on Thursday where he is expected to conduct important political meetings, sources said.

Moonis had said that he will stay in London for 4-5 days but will not have any political meetings as he is on a personal visit to solve some family matters. But reliable sources confirmed that Moonis will be meeting quite a few politicians during his trip.

It is pertinent to mention that Moonis has always adopted a conciliatory tone and had also asked PM Imran Khan to advise his lawmakers to stay calm and not to panic after the opposition had formally filed the no confidence motion.


But during an interview with Bol News this week, his father Pervez Elahi minced no words and said that Imran Khan’s government is inexperienced and failed on many fronts.

“Despite the all-out support from Moonis for the PTI government, it recently asked NAB to initiate or reopen cases against him,” rued Pervez.

Commenting on the defection of PTI legislators ahead of the no confidence motion, acclaimed Political Analyst Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi said there is no vote of conscience in the parliamentary form of governments. “Either these legislators should have voted as per their party lines or resigned and gone for re-elections.

“It is the personal decision of these legislators to leave the PTI and join or I should say rejoin the Opposition parties as they feel that it will not be in their favour to continue with the Imran Khan government,” Dr Rizvi said. “Unfortunately, there are no democratic values or parliamentary norms in Pakistan, due to which we witness such things here,” he lamented.


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