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ISLAMABAD: After securing a vote of confidence from the National Assembly with 180 lawmakers reposing “full confidence” in his leadership as leader of the house, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that he was ready to sacrifice his premiership for the sake of parliamentary supremacy.

Speaking in the house after securing a vote of confidence, he openly stated that even if he was sent packing in response to the vote of confidence held today, he was ready to go back a thousand times, but he will not let them down.

However – within a few minutes after Sharif’s speech – Defence Minister Khawaja Asif categorically said that the prime minister would not step down if slapped with contempt by the apex court in the Punjab elections’ delay case as the government would not accept the three-judge bench verdict in Punjab elections’ delay case.

Coalition govt agrees elections should be held in Oct-Nov: PM Shehbaz

“Prime Minister, you will not go anywhere…you will remain the prime minister as we’ll not accept three-judge bench verdict,” he declared.

After getting the vote of confidence from the house, the prime minister expressed reservations on recent rulings of the apex court, saying “come what may he stood by the recent decision of the parliament.”

The resolution for the trust vote, moved by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, said that “the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reposes its full confidence in the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

After the resolution was moved, voting was conducted with lawmakers in favour of adopting the resolution rising from their seats.

Subsequently, NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced that 180 members of the house had risen from their seats in favour of the resolution.

“Consequently, Shehbaz Sharif has obtained the vote of confidence from the National Assembly and commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said amid thumping of desks by lawmakers.

The NA speaker said that if Mufti Abdul Shakoor had been alive, the number would have been 181 in the vote of confidence for the prime minister.

Sharif, who took office last year in April had secured 174 votes to succeed Imran Khan who was removed in a vote of no confidence, bagged six more votes.

Those whose votes took the number to 180 include Zubaida Jalal of Balochistan Awami party (BAP), Abdul Qadir Mandokhel, Ali Musa Gilani, Abdul Rahim Baloch and two independent MNAs. The 20 estranged PTI lawmakers did not take part in voting process. After the passage of the resolution, Sharif termed the 2018 general elections a “fraud” and demanded the NA speaker for ordering a probe into it.

He said that ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar ruled that the votes will not be recounted, adding the 2018 polls were rigged by other means too.

He also referred to a recent audio clip — purportedly of a conversation between ex-CJP Nisar and PTI legal adviser Khawaja Tariq Rahim regarding a high-profile case currently being heard by the Supreme Court — and reiterated the allegation that the former judge had been involved in “rigging” the 2018 elections to make the PTI win.

“This Parliament elected me as the prime minister. If this parliament reaches a decision after debate and obliges the government and cabinet, it is mandatory for me to respect its decision. It is mandatory for me to stand by them,” he added. “My government is standing with them […] no matter what,” he asserted.

“It is not possible that parliament frames a law and the judiciary issues a stay order on it even before it is enforced,” he said while referring to an apex court ruling, with regard to a bill to limit the suo moto powers of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

He maintained that only parliament had the right to make and amend the constitution, adding the judiciary does not have the right to rewrite the constitution.

“Whatever the apex court is doing these days is the violation of law and constitution,” he said, lamenting that “when parliament objected to it, it had to face threats of contempt”.

Referring to another top court order, he said that the ruling stated if “you don’t abide by our orders, it means that the prime minister has lost the confidence of the majority of the house”.

“But the house has given its verdict today,” he added.

In this connection, the premier also said the house “has rejected the decision of a three-member SC bench and accepted a 4-3 verdict”.

He further said the government had decided to invite the PTI for talks, even when some in the ruling coalition had very “strong views” on the matter.

“But we convinced them that there was no harm in holding talks. And so we decided yesterday to send our representatives to Senate for negotiations, and we will hopefully initiate talks today,” he said, adding, “But what will be the agenda of the negotiations? That elections be held across the country simultaneously.”

He questioned why was the SC only taking up the matter of elections in Punjab and not in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“If elections are only held in Punjab six months before then polls are held in the rest of the country? That Punjab, God forbid, is exploiting Pakistan?” he added, reiterating the government’s stance of holding elections across Pakistan on the same day. “And if the PTI agrees on this, we will send our delegation for talks with them today,” PM Shehbaz said, adding that Imran Khan’s party would also be held accountable for “all that happened” during their tenure in the government.

Then, referring to another court ruling, he said a verdict was given that the law pertaining suo motu would remain in place until further orders. “This is not justice but brazenness. It is brazenness that the sanctity and constitutional status of this parliament is being challenged,” he said, reiterating, “No power in this world can snatch parliament’s respect and constitutional right.”

He lamented that a legislation was challenged before it became law, adding “we do not accept the verdict of the three-judge bench and only accept the four-three judge bench’s verdict”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Comments

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BK Apr 28, 2023 11:26am
Getting vote of trust from your stooges and people on your payroll is nothing. Contest elections and we will see whether you have the vote of the people of Pakistan, who matter much more than the lotas sitting in the parliament
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Joe Apr 28, 2023 12:13pm
No leniency for crooks and corrupt for defying the constitution! Enough is enough!
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Naseem Apr 28, 2023 12:21pm
Fools fooling the people!
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Tulukan Mairandi Apr 28, 2023 12:23pm
This proves beyond reasonable doubt that the people unconditionally support Shehbaz and Nawaz. Indians are clapping, these 2 musketeers along with Ishaq Dar will do what the Indians couldn't.
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Nathan Apr 28, 2023 12:40pm
What kind of message is being sent to the world...corrupt and criminals toying with the constitution and orders of SC...No foreign investors will come to Pakistan where there is no respect for rule of law.
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Mian Nawaz Sharif-Shit Apr 28, 2023 02:11pm
@Tulukan Mairandi, Thank you for being happy on this matter. Please extend my good wishes to your bosses and Modi Ji.
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Parvez Apr 28, 2023 03:10pm
Sorry but a vote of confidence from a " moth eaten " parliament does not protect him from being disqualified by the SC.....for breach of the Constitution and contempt of the Court.
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Jawaid Apr 29, 2023 09:12am
@Joe, But Judges are being pressured by looking inside their homes!
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