Sunday, April 03, 2022
ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited vote on a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan was abruptly deemed "unconstitutional" Sunday during what was expected to be a crucial National Assembly session, but was instead wrapped up within minutes of starting.
The session started after a brief delay of over 30 minutes with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri chaired it.
"I, as the deputy speaker, give the ruling that the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan is being rejected," Suri said while adjourning the session for an indefinite period.
At the outset of the session, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said that a Pakistani envoy was told on March 7 that a no-confidence motion is going to be submitted against PM Imran Khan.
"It was when no one in Pakistan even knew about it and the next day, the motion was submitted," he said.
He said that submitting a no-trust motion is the Opposition's right, but Article 5 speaks about loyalty to the country.
It is said that if distrust does not succeed then it will be very difficult, Fawad Chaudhry said.
"Are the people of Pakistan puppets? Are we slaves or 'beggars' as per the Leader of the Opposition?" he asked.
"If we are a proud nation, then this spectacle cannot go on."
The prime minister himself was expected to attend the crucial session. However, he did not attend and it was reported that the premier would stay at PM House, unless an “extraordinary situation” occurs.
Earlier, it had been reported that PM Imran Khan was confident that he will defeat the no-confidence motion against him, sources had said, adding that the premier has decided to fight till the last ball.
Deputy Attorney-General Raja Khalid Mahmood Khan tendered his resignation after PM Imran Khan sent a proposal to the President to dissolve the assemblies.
“The constitution has been violated and I can no longer defend the government,” he said, adding that the ruling given by the deputy speaker was “unconstitutional.”
"I condemn the ruling which is unconstitutional and against democratic values,” he said.
A delegation of Opposition lawmakers submitted a no-trust motion against National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in the NA Secretariat ahead of the voting on no-trust move against the premier.
More than 100 lawmakers from the Opposition parties have signed the no-confidence motion, including Ayaz Sadiq, Khursheed Shah, PPP’s Naveed Qamar and JUI-F's Shahida Akhtar Ali.
“[…] the resolution for removal from office of the Speaker, Mr Asad Qaiser under paragraph © of clause (7) of Article 53 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, 2077,” the document read.
To avoid any untoward incident on the decisive day, the district administration has imposed Section 144 and completely banned pillion riding in Islamabad for today.
A statement issued by Islamabad deputy commissioner said that the Red Zone has been sealed with big containers and barbed wires and with tightened security in the federal capital.
The local administration has also prohibited all kinds of gatherings in areas in and outside the Red Zone within a one-kilometre radius.
Moreover, a notification issued by Islamabad’s district magistrate prohibits ‘all kinds of gatherings of 5 or more persons, processions/rallies and demonstrations inside the Red Zone.
Earlier, sources said that the government and PTI leadership have decided to incite violence in the federal capital today during the poll.
Senior journalist Hamid Mir, during Geo News programme "Naya Pakistan", said sources have informed him that the government and PTI leadership have decided to stop the Opposition lawmakers from exiting the parliament lodges and entering the lower house.
Whether they enter the assembly or even if they are outside, they will be beaten, Mir said, while quoting informed sources, after the prime minister's call for "peaceful protest."
Earlier, PM Imran Khan had called on the youth to protest for two days — Saturday and Sunday — against a "foreign conspiracy" being hatched against his government.
"...I want you to protest for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan," the prime minister said during a live Q&A session with the people on Saturday, as the Opposition looks in a firm position to oust the government.
However, the Prime Minister's House contradicted the report. "The Prime Minister's Office strongly denies the news and strongly condemns such a one-sided propaganda campaign," said the PM Office.
"Baseless news is being aired on a media channel regarding the no-confidence motion, according to which the opposition members of the National Assembly will be prevented from reaching the lower house tomorrow."
The Prime Minister firmly believes in the democratic process and opposes any unconstitutional move, it added.
In a last-ditch effort to save his government from being toppled down, the prime minister took another U-turn on Saturday, directing his MNAs to attend the crucial session of the NA and participate in the voting process, sources told Geo News.
On March 30, PM Imran Khan had "strictly" directed PTI's members of the National Assembly (MNAs) to either abstain from voting or not attend the session when the no-confidence motion is voted in the House.
In response to another question, PM Imran Khan said he had a plan for the voting session on the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly and confidently stated that he would defeat the move.
"I have more than one plan. We will win tomorrow," the prime minister said, adding that the PTI had swept the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The premier said the local body results show that the nation is not with them and will "not forgive them"; the politicians who back them are now afraid that they might become part of a "foreign conspiracy" against Pakistan.
In an interview with a select group of foreign journalists at his office, PM Imran Khan suggested that he might not accept a vote to oust him, a move he alleged was being orchestrated by the United States.
"How can I accept the result when the entire process is discredited?" he told the journalists. "Democracy functions on moral authority — what moral authority is left after this connivance?"