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Opposition Finalizes ‘Draft’ of No-Confidence Motion

by Staff Report

Screengrab of meeting between PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman; PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif; and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari

PDM chief, PPP co-chairman and PMLN president review all legal aspects of no-trust vote and decide to table it at ‘appropriate’ time

Pakistan’s main opposition parties on Monday finalized and approved the draft text of a no-confidence motion to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, with sources familiar with the development saying they would formally announce a date for it “at an appropriate time.”

After more than a month of back-and-forth, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shahbaz Sharif visited Zardari House in Islamabad and held “delegation-level” talks with Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari to finalize the terms of the no-confidence vote. According to sources, the three leaders met legal experts tasked with examining all potential issues and reviewed the requirements for a successful vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly.

They said the draft was finalized, but all three leaders had agreed to withhold the date for tabling no-confidence motion until the last possible moment to prevent the government from scuttling it. However, per some sources within the PPP, the party wants to culminate the Awami Long March led by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari with the announcement. The march is set to reach the federal capital today (Tuesday), and is expected to conclude with a rally in Islamabad.

According to the sources, the opposition parties believe they have sufficient support from dissenters within the PTI to oust the incumbent government. They said the delay in announcing the date for the no-confidence motion was partially linked to the opposition wanting to “surprise” the government, and partially to some elements not wishing to disturb the events of March 23 (Pakistan Day) “in the national interest.”

In a subsequent statement posted on Twitter, the PMLN president said the no-confidence move was a public demand and was now necessary to save the national economy and the future of Pakistan. Referring to recent speeches of the prime minister, he described them as “irresponsible and ill-informed rants,” adding that they could jeopardize the country’s national interest. “Imran has destroyed his political capital and reputation, but he should not be allowed to damage Pakistan’s international political capital and reputation,” he said.

‘No threat’

With the opposition’s efforts ramping up, the government has sought to dent their narrative by reaching out to its allied parties and offering subsidies on electricity and petroleum products to assuage the public’s frustration with rampant inflation.

On Monday, the prime minister chaired a meeting of the PTI’s core committee—replacing a weekly meeting of the federal cabinet—and claimed that the government was “fully prepared” for the opposition’s no-confidence motion. Claiming it would not pose any threat to his government, he said they should feel free to exercise their right to table it in Parliament and face defeat.

Continuing his diatribes against opposition leaders, he described them as “thieves” and said their “agenda” would not be achieved.

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