Friday Feb 11, 2022
LAHORE: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Friday evening announced the Opposition alliance has unanimously decided to move a no-confidence motion against the incumbent PTI government.
Fazl was speaking during a press conference after holding a meeting of the PDM in Lahore. He was flanked by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz. Other members of the anti-government alliance joined the meeting via video link.
Fazl said the alliance would approach the government's allied parties to have them on board so as to acquire a voting majority in the National Assembly — a prerequisite to bringing about a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.
The PDM chief went on to say that all Opposition parties that were present during the meeting have decided nemine contradicente that this "illegal government should be sent packing."
"We will first do our homework, so we cannot talk about a definite timeframe for this move," he said, adding that the government's allied parties should keep the plight of the masses in their mind and make a decision accordingly.
"When it comes to politics, you have to have a big heart," he said. "We are political people, so we will make calculated decisions."
Answering a question, the PDM chief said that all the "homework" related to the no-confidence motion will be completed before the Opposition's planned long march, which is set to begin on Pakistan Day (March 23).
When asked why the PDM announced the decision to bring about a no-confidence motion against the government without completing the "homework" Fazl said that the Opposition should be allowed to make preparations first.
"The PDM has announced the no-confidence motion at this stage because we have a firm intention of doing so. Without preparations, we cannot give a date, so let us do our work," he said.
Answering a question about the planned long march, he said that it will take place as per the schedule, while the PDM's steering committee will chalk out a plan for this purpose.
When a reporter asked Fazl what the PDM will do if the government's allied parties refuse to cooperate, he said: "In that case, we will hold talks with them once again and try to convince them."
He added that the PDM will "not contact any PTI member," adding that if they contact the anti-government alliance themselves, there could be any reason for that.
"We are neither going to bribe anyone nor lure them [to join us] by offering any seats [political incentives]," Fazl maintained.
On the other hand, Shahbaz Sharif said that the citizens of Pakistan are protesting against inflation and the ensuing poverty.
"Who else would come forward to rid them of this tyrant government if not us?"
Shahbaz said only God knows how much time will it take for the movement to succeed before the government is ousted, but noted that "millions [of people] in the country are suffering".
Answering a question, he said that "Maulana's relation with the PPP is even older than his relationship with me."
Reacting to PDM's announcement of bringing about a no-confidence motion against the PTI government, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that the move will serve as a "victory for democracy."
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: "It is a victory for democracy that most Opposition parties now agree to bring a no-confidence motion against the government. The PM has lost the confidence of the people, it is about time he lost the confidence of Parliament."
In response to the announcement made by the PDM, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said that the "Opposition could go ahead with their long march and no-confidence motion plan."
"However, they do not have the manpower to move forward with their long march," he said. "The Opposition does not even know how many of their members will cast the vote of no-confidence against the incumbent government."
He said that even if all the parties of the Opposition join hands, they would still not be able to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan or dissolve the assembly.
"The Opposition is fighting for its survival as it has been rendered completely useless," Rasheed said, adding that since the PDM does not have enough members to cast a vote of no confidence, it will go to "beg before our allied parties to help them out."
"They will neither proceed with their long march nor will they bring about a no-confidence motion against the government," he reiterated.
Similarly, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry dared the Opposition to "go ahead and bring about the no-trust motion tomorrow."
"Nobody can dare to bring a no-confidence motion against the government," he asserted, adding that PTI members will soon give the Opposition a surprise.
"Not only that, but your own MPAs will astonish you," he claimed.
Pointing fingers at Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz, Fawad said: "Don't forget that on February 18, you will be indicted in the money-laundering case."