In a bid to thwart the Opposition’s no-trust motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party on Thursday decided that the Sindh House here will not be allowed to turn into a “horse-trading hub”, according to a media report.
The Sindh House in Islamabad assumed importance after a top federal minister accused the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of using the building for horse-trading and that the Opposition had detained some ruling party lawmakers there ahead of the vote on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Khan.
During a political committee meeting of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, headed by Prime Minister Khan, it was decided to strictly monitor the lawmakers and the Sindh House, controlled by the PPP government in Sindh province, to “ensure that no one falls prey to horse-trading”, Geo News reported.
The Opposition PPP on Thursday alleged that the PTI-led government was planning an assault on the Sindh House in the federal capital.
They claimed they had information suggesting the Islamabad police and PTI’s Tiger Force were planning the “assault”. The PPP parliamentarians said if there was any damage to Sindh House’s facilities or to their members then the government would be responsible and it would amount to a violation of the law and the Constitution.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry alleged that the Sindh House has become a “hub of horse-trading”. He said strict action was being planned against illegal activities at the Sindh House.
Civilian intelligence agencies were directed to closely observe the location, mobile phone data and the movement of lawmakers, and report to Prime Minister Khan on a daily basis, the Geo News report said.
Addressing several political rallies, Khan has been attacking at the three Opposition party heads – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chair Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Rehman – who have teamed up to file a no-trust motion against him, holding the government’s inability to control inflation that has badly hit the ordinary people.
Meanwhile, Khan tasked Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak to woo disgruntled lawmakers of the ruling PTI, the report said.
The PTI meeting also agreed to summon the National Assembly session on March 21 and empowered the prime minister to take the final decision.
Ahead of the voting on the no-trust motion, the meeting suggested the prime minister call in a parliamentary party meeting of the PTI to identify the defiant and “missing” lawmakers of the party.
On Thursday, Speaker Punjab Assembly Pervaiz Elahi claimed that 10-12 lawmakers of the ruling alliance led by PTI were in the “safe custody” of the Opposition.
Both – the government and the Opposition – are set to hold massive rallies in Islamabad before the crucial session with the government’s gathering scheduled for March 27, while the Opposition’s “long march” will take place after March 25, once the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) session ends here.
For a no-confidence motion to be successful, the support of a simple majority – 172 of the total 342 members – in the lower house of parliament is required.
Last year, Khan received 178 votes when he sought a vote of confidence after a candidate supported by his party lost the Senate election.
On paper, Khan still enjoys majority in the National Assembly, comprising 155 members of his PTI and 23 from coalition partners. The Opposition has 163 members. The Opposition is hoping that some disgruntled lawmakers from the ruling coalition will join them in ousting Khan’s government.
Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, came to power in 2018 and the next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)