Cracks appear in PDM over plan to oust govt

DailyTimes  |  Jan 24, 2021

Fissures have emerged within the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) over strategy to oust the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

A day after PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recommended that the opposition table a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the parliament, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday asked the PPP chief to ‘show numbers’ to back up his suggestion, pointing out that a similar effort had previously failed. He said the tactic did not work in the Senate when a no-confidence motion was tabled to oust the chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani, and deputy chairman Mandviwalla, despite the opposition having the numbers required.

“This is a PPP recommendation, an old one […] but where the PML-N is concerned, we believe that if Bilawal Bhutto sahab has such numbers, then he may definitely share them with us if he believes can help the opposition table a no-confidence motion,” Ahsan Iqbal said. “In the Senate (bid to oust the chairman and deputy chairman), we saw that despite having the numbers, we did not succeed in such a vote,” he added.

Iqbal emphasised that a long march was the PDM’s only option to oust the government, adding that the PPP chairman’s suggestion of a no-confidence motion was an old one. He said March is an ideal month for the long march.

Rana Sanaullah, meanwhile, was of the view that a no-confidence motion is also possible, given the fact that ‘the coalition parties may choose to distance themselves’ from the government, after all the ‘scandals’ that have emerged against the PTI.

A day earlier, Bilawal had said only constitutional, democratic and legal options would be used to send the government packing, hinting at the possibility of a no-confidence motion. Speaking at a ceremony in Larkana on Friday, Bilawal had said a no-confidence move could be tabled against the prime minister and speaker, adding that all member parties of PDM would be convinced to use this option and reach consensus on the issue.

The PPP chairman said he believed that a no-confidence motion would be ‘much more effective’ than the ongoing PDM rallies. “Even 10 rallies will not yield the kind of results as a strategy meeting over a cup of tea which is sure to cause the government to worry,” he had said.

On Saturday, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid termed PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s strategy of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan as the ‘only way to get rid of the sitting government’.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the interior minister said that Bilawal has ‘come of age’ and become ‘sensible and mature’, as he believes that rallies will not affect the government.

Moreover, he said that the government is ready to cooperate with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM,) lauding the opposition for participating in the Senate and by-elections. He said that the government is not taking any steps to recognise Israel and stressed that PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had “wasted the people’s time by organising anti-Israel rallies”.

Reiterating his question to the opposition, he asked them that if former Supreme Court Justice Azmat Saeed is not acceptable to them, then are Iftikhar Chaudhry or Justice Qayyum acceptable? In response to a question, he said that it does not matter if the PDM holds the long march before or after the Senate election.

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