The ‘no-confidence’ motion against Imran Khan will stand defeated!
Recently a ‘no-confidence’ motion was submitted to the National Assembly secretariat against Prime Minister Imran Khan by a coalition of corrupt and failed political leaders who are facing serious corruption cases in the courts. The unexpected mixed reaction to this motion is creating political and financial opportunities for members of all political parties including PTI. The public at large, especially the younger generation which represents over 60% of the total population of Pakistan, overwhelmingly supports Imran Khan. The members of this young population are mad and ready to throw eggs at Asif Zardari, Shahbaz Sharif, and Fazlur Rehman. This reaction is forcing opposition parties to re-think this no-confidence strategy and some political pundits are predicting that opponents may withdraw this motion to avoid a possible backlash in the upcoming general elections. This will result in the dismissal of the motion in the Assembly.
On the other hand, if the opposition decides to gamble, its actual number of voters in the house is not very encouraging. In fact, the opposition’s own strength stands at 162 which may dip by two more as I believe MNA Ali Wazir is incarcerated and may not be available to vote, and another MNA of PPP is abroad and may not return on time to vote. Also, Governor Sind claims that 15 opposition MNAs ( which does not include government allies of MQM, PML-Q, GDA, and BAP) may not be available to vote on a no-confidence motion. Considering this situation, the opposition will be short in required votes by a minimum of 12 votes or a maximum of 27 votes. If this reality hits the opposition soon enough, they may withdraw this motion before it comes up for voting.
It is an open secret that Asif Zardari and Shahbaz Sharif are openly trying to bribe MNAs of PTI and its allies. The amount of bribe ranges from 9 crore rupees to 20 crore rupees per MNA according to one of the PTI MNA who was offered an amount within that range. Fawad Chaudhry, the Information Minister of PTI told the press that their three MNAs including a female MNA were offered the bribe to break the loyalty with the party. It is interesting to note that bribing someone for a vote is a crime under the Elections rules but it is evident from the last senate election that the Election Commission has not penalized those who were caught bribing in the senate election. PTI has lodged a complaint that the Chairman Election Commission is biased against PTI.
Although the opposition was actively trying to create political unrest for the last few months in view of the upcoming elections in 2023, then move to unseat Imran Khan and dissolve the parliament was railroaded to gain momentum in order to hinder the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and their allies who are allegedly involved in the money laundering cases as per pieces of evidence submitted in the court. Imran Khan who referred to them as a ‘bouquet of criminals’ was not willing to condone their alleged corruption or award any amnesty in order to bring them to the court of justice.
Shahbaz Gill, special adviser on political affairs to Imran, thinks that the US and its allies want to remove Imran Khan because America believes that Imran Khan’s policies are against their regional and global interests. Such a belief is of course without any foundation. Imran Khan’s foreign policy is neutral towards all foreign governments and he promotes his support for peace, not war. The focus of Pakistan’s foreign policies has now shifted towards the economy. His visit to China was to gain China’s support for CPEC. His visit to Moscow was primarily intended to boost energy and economic cooperation between the two sides and to give impetus to the multi-billion-dollar Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline.
The rules of the National Assembly dictate that a simple majority of 172 votes is required to remove the Prime Minister from office. There is no precedence in Pakistan’s political history of any elected government having been removed through a vote of no-confidence. The game is, however, on with both government and opposition engaging themselves in political wheeling and dealing. It is a calculated gamble but the odds are heavily in favour of the PTI ruling coalition since their numbers are greater than those of the opposition.
The opposition is heavily counting on Jehangir Khan Tareen and his group to support the no-confidence motion but Jehangir Tareen and his group have declared their loyalty to Imran Khan and PTI. It is believed that none of the PTI voters will be attending the no-confidence session of the parliament and this will be notified to PTI MNAs and the Speaker in advance of voting on no-confidence. However, if any PTI voter tries to cast his/her vote in favour of the opposition’s no-confidence motion, the legal ruling of defecting from the party can be applied and his/her vote would not be counted by the Speaker.
Keeping all the above scenarios in consideration, the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan will stand defeated.
The writer is a freelance journalist based in Toronto, Canada, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org