Pakistan Democratic Movement president claims decision reflects incumbent government’s one-sided procedures in Parliament
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Friday announced that its constituent parties will boycott a National Assembly session during which Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to seek a fresh vote of confidence after his candidate lost a general Senate seat from Islamabad.
“No member of the PDM will participate in tomorrow’s National Assembly session,” PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also heads the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), told media in Islamabad. He noted that the premier was seeking a vote of confidence from the same lawmakers that he had accused of taking bribes to vote against party lines in the Senate elections and questioned how this ethical.
To a question on his opinion about the prime minister convening meetings of his party members right after the Senate polls, the JUIF chief said it reflected Khan’s panic after his Senate loss. “There is no executive at the moment. There is no government,” he claimed and reiterated the PDM’s call for the premier to step down and announce new elections.
To another question on whether the PDM’s boycott decision would ultimately strengthen the government, Rehman claimed it would not. “The importance of his [Khan’s] whole narrative will be eliminated,” he claimed. “They [PTI] formed a fake government and have been indulging in one-sided procedures since that day,” he said, suggesting that the vote of confidence was no different.
The PTI, on Friday, announced that it would field incumbent Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani as its candidate for the new Senate as well. The PDM president said that Sanjrani’s election in 2019 had also been marred by accusations of horse-trading. “At the time, he [Khan] claimed the opposition senators who had voted against party lines had voted according to their conscience,” he said, and questioned why the PTI believed otherwise for Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s loss to Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Rehman also lashed out at the incumbent government for rampant inflation, especially the prices of essential edibles. He lamented that instead of fulfilling their promises of providing 10 million job, the government’s policies had actually increased unemployment by 3 million people.
Commenting on the growing rift between the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan—which issued a strongly worded rejoinder to P.M. Khan’s tirade against its performance—the JUIF chief said that the real issue was the premier’s attempt to pressure the institution.
“We believe blaming the ECP [for PTI loss] in Senate election is not the issue,” he said. “We believe he [Khan] blamed the ECP to put pressure on them [to dismiss] the foreign funding case,” he alleged.