Wednesday Mar 16, 2022
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif Wednesday floated the idea of forming a national government in which PTI has no participation.
"The national government — sans PTI — should be formed for the next five years," the PML-N president said during an interview in Geo News' programme "Capital Talk".
Mentioning that it was his idea of forming such a government, Shahbaz said that the new leadership that comes into power should work with all the dedication to set a benchmark.
"And then we can see what happens," he told senior journalist and anchorperson Hamid Mir.
With the National Assembly session voting on the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan just weeks away, the government is trying to woo its allies for supporting it during the voting process.
The Opposition is also attempting to cajole the PTI allies and seeking to break the government alliance in the lower house — by holding back-to-back meetings with them.
PM Imran Khan has said that he is ready for everything that the Opposition plans to throw his way — but he has also intensified meetings with allies ahead of the no-trust motion session.
Both — the government and the Opposition — are set to hold massive rallies in Islamabad before the crucial session — with the government's gathering scheduled for March 27, while the Opposition's "long march" will take place after March 25, once the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) session ends.
The Opposition leader rubbished claims of horse-trading in the build-up to the no-confidence motion session and said when politicians were "being loaded on to a private aircraft, then what was that all about".
Shahbaz said that if the allegations of horse-trading turned out to be true, then he would apologise to the nation and step down from office. "If horse-trading takes place, then I will be responsible for it."
He also said that people should stop calling the prime minister "honest" and stated that had the premier recovered the two billion dollars he claimed he would, then he might have served the nation.
"Records of dacoity have been broken in Pakistan [...] The government bought oil at the most expensive rates, but it could not buy cheap gas," the PML-N president said.
Speaking about the PTI's plan to hold a rally before the no-confidence motion, the Opposition leader said that the government was "warning" lawmakers against voting in favour of the no-confidence motion.
"They (government) are warning them of violence, but we do not plan on resorting to violence. They want to clash with the constitution and the law," he said.
The PML-N president said the government was "threatening" to end democracy in Pakistan. "We will bring people to avoid this," he said about the Opposition's "long march" — which is expected to start from March 25.
It is noteworthy that the three allies have 17 representatives in the National Assembly. If these parties join the Opposition, the PTI government's strength will fall to 162 from 179, and the total number of MNAs in the unified opposition would rise to 179.
To pass the no-trust motion, the Opposition needed the backing of 172 MNAs. The NA currently has a total membership of 341 members, with one seat empty.
The ruling coalition now has 179 MNAs in favour, while the Opposition has 162 MNAs in the lower house of parliament. The Opposition required the backing of ten more MNAs to dislodge the Imran Khan government.