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ISLAMABAD: As expected, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser Friday did not take up the agenda which included the much-anticipated no-confidence motion – submitted by the joint opposition – against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The NA speaker said that it is a longstanding tradition of the National Assembly not to carry out the parliamentary business on the first day of a session convened shortly after the death of a sitting lawmaker.

On Friday, when the house was supposed to take up the crucial no-confidence motion against the prime minister, the speaker said as per parliamentary tradition, the house is adjourned till Monday due to the sad demise of MNA Khiyal Zaman.

He said that the tradition has been followed nine times in the 12th assembly, four times in the 13th assembly, six times in the 14th assembly, and five times in the current assembly.

The NA secretariat had issued a 15-point order of the day for today Thursday night, with the no-trust motion against PM Imran Khan included on the agenda for the crucial session, alongside other affairs.

Then opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif wanted to speak on a point of order, but the NA speaker wrapped up the session almost immediately without giving him an opportunity to speak on the floor of the house.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri offered Fateha for the PTI’s deceased MNA from Hangu Khiyal Zaman, former president Rafique Tarar, PPP’s Rehman Malik, and for those who lost their lives during Peshawar and Sibbi terror attacks.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Dr Shireen Mazari, Asad Umar, and Ali Muhammad Khan, and some other PTI MNAs attended the session, as well as Dr Fehmida Mirza of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).

From the opposition ranks, Shehbaz Sharif, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, were also present.

Speaker Asad Qaiser summons NA session on no-trust motion on March 25

Members belonging to other parties were also present. About 148 opposition lawmakers and around 57 treasury members attended the session.

But no member from the government allied parties especially Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) attended the session.



Later, speaking at a joint press conference after the session was adjourned, the PML-N president, Shehbaz Sharif, and Bilawal, came down hard on the NA speaker and dubbed him a “stooge” of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Sharif said that the NA speaker violated the rules of procedures by conducting proceedings as “a PTI worker”.

He continued that the motion and requisition for the NA session was submitted on March 8 and, under the rules, the speaker was supposed to summon the session within 14 days.

“This was a constitutional obligation and he violated the Constitution by not convening the session. He is a stooge of the prime minister,” he lamented.

He also called for the speaker to be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution, which deals with high treason.

“After the Fateha Khuwani, I stood up to speak on a point of order but my microphone was not turned on,” he regretted.

He accepted that parliamentary convention dictated that the session would be limited to prayers for the departed, but added that today was an important day.

“The Constitution and the law is above tradition and voting should have been allowed [...] tradition aside, the speaker should have taken up the motion but he did not listen and left,” he added.

Opposition submits no-confidence motion against PM Imran

He warned that if the speaker repeated all this in the next sitting of the session, the opposition will be left with no option but to use all constitutional, political, and legal options to bring a no-confidence motion against him as well.

Bilawal claimed that the premier was “fleeing the pitch” and reiterated that Qaiser had violated the Constitution. However, he asserted that the opposition parties were united and would not let the prime minister run away from the no-confidence motion.

“The no-trust motion is our democratic right which we’re going to use as a weapon…we’ll move towards free and fair elections as the prime minister has lost the majority and his government,” he added.

He later added that Qaiser had provided a weak excuse to avoid tabling the no-trust move, adding the prime minister cannot run forever.

“The PM has no sportsman spirit and cannot face defeat with grace. The once great Kaptaan will go down like a rat on a sinking ship,” he added.

Maulana Asad Mehmood of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) accused the speaker of violating the Constitution to prove his loyalty to the prime minister.

Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded an apology from Shehbaz Sharif for his tirade against the NA speaker.

“The words he [Shehbaz Sharif] used against Asad Qaiser are inappropriate and I want you to retract the remarks immediately,” he lamented.

He also refuted claims that the government is running away from the no-confidence motion, saying “we’ll deal with it in a democratic, political, and legal way.”

To a question, he said that the opposition is set to get a rude shock on March 27, as all their tall claims are going to end up in smoke.

Talking to reporter after presiding over parliamentary meeting of the party with Bilawal ahead of the session, Zardari said: “God willing, if my Maula wants, the no-confidence motion will be 100 per cent successful.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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