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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz on Friday urged the “institutions” to stay away from the “sinking boat” of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Talking to reporters after chairing a meeting of the PML-N Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AKJ) parliamentary party, she said Prime Minister Khan has lost the confidence of people and ‘it has also been admitted by President Arif Alvi in a summary that Imran Khan has lost the confidence of people.’

“I congratulate the President for summoning the (National Assembly) session and saying that the prime minister has lost the confidence of people…the summary sent by the president for summoning of the National Assembly session is an admission that PM Khan has lost the confidence of the public,” she maintained and also demanded that the summary should also be made public.

She further claimed that the President has also admitted what everyone witnessed in the by-elections in Daska, Nowshera and other parts of the country.

Maryam said she was surprised that the Saturday’s National Assembly session has been summoned under Article 91(7) with a view to enabling Prime Minister Khan to seek a vote of confidence from the house.

Article 91(7) of the Constitution says: “The Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, but the President shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the Prime Minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly, in which case he shall summon the National Assembly and require the Prime Minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the Assembly.”

Further speaking about the Prime Minister’s plan to seek a vote of confidence, she said: “The decision has already been taken and a no-confidence has already come against you.” She referred to Article 91(8) that says: “The Prime Minister may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.”

“If you own members have shown no-confidence in you, instead of accepting, you are labeling them as thieves and sold out. Now you’re asking them to tell you face-to-face that you are ineligible,” she further remarked.

“At present, there is no prime minister in the country. Your own President is also saying that you have lost confidence of people. The people and their representative have already shown no-confidence against the one who was selected. No matter if you [the prime minister] force your lawmakers, under the pressure and duress, to vote for you. What would be the credibility of that [vote] and the government which is now hardly to continue? Now you have lost all the ground to be in power,” she further said.

Referring to the meeting of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajawa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed with Prime Minister Khan on March 4, a day after the Senate polls, she urged the state institutions to avoid providing shield to the “sinking boat” of Imran Khan.

“I once again repeat it that the respectable institutions that people are eying on you and your own institutions too if you ever tried to save the sinking boat of Imran Khan and put pressure on his lawmakers through phone calls, the people of Pakistan are watching you,” she remarked.

“Standing behind this incompetent, incapable and the peoples-culprit government in no way suits you,” she further stated in reference to the meeting of military leadership with the prime minister.

Responding to a question about the press release issued by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in response to the Prime Minister’s criticism over it in his address to the nation on Thursday, she said: “The entire nation and the state institution [ECP] now got to know what the Sicilian mafia is, and how the institutions are being kept under pressure. When the institutions come up with decisions in their favour, they are good…the way you targeted the ECP, it is a very bad move.”

She said the ECP’s stand on holding the Senate polls through secret ballot was not its personal opinion but a constitutional stance “which was more or less also accepted by the Supreme Court. No institution whether ECP or Supreme Court, but the Parliament can amend the Constitution,” she added.

She added that the Prime Minister “charged-sheeted” and ECP for his party’s defeat on one Senate seat from Islamabad, ‘but he has no problems with the ECP in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab where his party won Senate seats”.

To another query about PML-N candidates possibly shifting loyalties ahead of the upcoming AJK elections, she said that PML-N parliamentary party in AJK was standing united.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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