All coalition partners’ concerns have been allayed, claims information minister while announcing session for tomorrow (Wednesday)
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government on Monday announced it will convene a joint session of Parliament on Wednesday (tomorrow) in a bid to get “eight to 10” bills passed, including one related to the use of electronic voting machines in the next general elections.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the PTI’s allied parties—the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid—in which he sought to allay their concerns over the EVMs and granting overseas Pakistanis the right to vote from their place of residence. According to sources, the two parties said they were willing to support the government but refused to offer outright support.
However, the government maintains that all issues have been resolved and the allies will vote with the government in the joint session. “Reservations of the coalition partners have been removed and the government has unanimously decided to convene a joint session of Parliament on Wednesday,” Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain told a press conference. He said the government would present pending bills related to the “national interest”, adding that leadership of the MQM, PMLQ, Balochistan Awami Party and the Grand Democratic Alliance had all expressed “full confidence” in the prime minister’s leadership.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who accompanied Fawad, stressed that the prime minister had allayed the concerns of all coalition members. “The allies have assured the prime minister that they will support all eight or 10 bills to be tabled in the joint sitting of the parliament,” he said, reiterating the government’s stance that EVMs would help prevent rigging in elections.
Separately, both the PMLQ and the MQM have claimed that they are still undecided on whether they would support the government in the joint session. The PMLQ has, in multiple press statements, has claimed it is becoming “difficult” to continue supporting the PTI due to its flawed economic policies. The MQM, meanwhile, has said that it would decide on its course of action in a party meeting.
This is the second time the government has summoned a joint session in a bid to get controversial bills passed. Last week, on Nov. 10, it abruptly cancelled a joint session after failing to secure the required numbers to ensure the passage of its legislation. At the time, the government’s allied parties had said that they had not been consulted over the bills and could not “blindly” support them.