-Two MPAs accuse Asad Qaiser of being tilted towards ruling PTI
PESHAWAR: In a surprise move, two lawmakers from Opposition benches moved separate no-confidence motions against the Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Dr Asad Qaisar claiming that the speaker was no more neutral in his conduct and had hence become biased towards the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Currently, no political party has a majority in the 124-member house. The PTI’s strength in government shrank from 63 to 43 after its leadership issued show cause notices to its 20 MPAs for allegedly selling vote in the recent Senate elections.
The JI, which has seven members in the house, formally announced on Thursday it was quitting the PTI-led ruling coalition in the province but assured KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak of its continued support on the budget, and of opposing any move to remove him.
As the JI announced its exit from the coalition, 13 members of the assembly demanded KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra to ask CM Khattak to seek a fresh vote of confidence from the assembly as he had lost the majority.
PPP MPAs Fakhar Azam Wazir and Ziaullah Afridi submitted separate motions against Qaisar. KP Assembly Secretary Nasrullah Khattak said that the motion would be presented in the May 14 session after routine procedure.
Interestingly, the movers include a PTI rebel who had joined ranks with Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) but did not tender resignation from his constituency. Interestingly, Ziaullah Afridi now wants to send Asad Qaisar packing on moral grounds for being biased despite the fact that the lawmaker had failed to show moral courage and resign from his constituency after quitting the PTI and run as a PPP candidate in the by-election.
Afridi has told media that PTI has lost majority in the KP assembly and those who taught morality to opposition should now should resign now. “We were expected that CM will resign but he only lectured moral values to others,” Afridi said.
Political observers are amazed on the fact that rather than moving a no confidence motion against Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak as the ruling party has already lost majority in the House after Jamat-e-Islami parted ways and the ruling party fired 18 of its members accusing them of being involved in vote selling during the Senate elections.
Lehaz Ali, a senior journalist based in Peshawar, told Pakistan Today that the motion tabled by the PPP lawmakers had made a failed attempt to attract media attention.
“Under the rules, whenever a no-confidence motion is tabled, the speaker is bound to convene the House within 14 days’ time. Interestingly, the Speaker has already convened the KP Assembly to meet on May 15 for budget. However, once a no-confidence motion is moved, the Speaker has to summon a special meeting of the House. So this is meaningless to table a no-confidence while the Assembly has already been convened,” he added.
He said that if the PPP lawmakers were serious, they would have moved a no-confidence against CM KP.
“When we asked Afridi why the no confidence was not moved against the CM, Afridi told journalists that Opposition members Sardar Hussain Babak of ANP and Mufti Syed Jaanan of JUI have tabled no confidence against CM and they have demanded the governor that CM must take vote of confidence,” said Lehaz Ali.
The journalist said that the Opposition did not want to topple Khattak as they did not want him to become a martyr as the assembly is going to complete its tenure in less than a month’s time.
Fakhar Wazir told media that the PTI government was playing with the assembly and it had postponed, at the last minute, an assembly session ─ in which the budget was likely to have been announced ─ until May 14 since it lacked a majority.
“If the speaker has the majority, he should show it,” Wazir said, adding that his party did not want to make a ‘political martyr’ out of CM Khattak and, therefore, was just asking for Qaiser’s removal,” added Fakhar.
Ziaullah Afridi, speaking to the media today, observed that the PTI had lost its majority in the assembly and demanded the resignations of both, the speaker and the CM.
“Those who lecture others on morality are not behaving morally today,” he claimed.
Khattak, however, appeared confident of continuing as chief minister. “I received assurances that a no-trust motion will not be brought against me and that I will continue to serve as CM,” he told a news conference on Thursday when asked about his government’s failure to present the next budget and convene the assembly session for fear of losing the majority.
“I know the tricks of how to pass the budget and show majority in the house,” Khattak had claimed.
The JI’s move to quit the government came after emir Sirajul Haq questioned the credibility of the Senate chairman election, claiming that the PTI had voted for Balochistan independent candidate Sadiq Sanjrani following “an order from the top”.
Angry over Haq’s remarks, the PTI had indirectly suggested the JI part ways with the coalition government.
As the relationship between both parties appeared to sour, Haq this week said that his party was “reviewing its role” in the KP government, adding that they had held back so far because budget preparations were underway and a member of their party held the portfolio of the finance ministry in the KP government.
Haq, explaining the decision, said that the JI had decided “it should neither weaken the KP government nor become the reason for its downfall when budget preparations are underway,” ignoring the fact that PTI chief Imran Khan had already announced that CM Khattak would not present the provincial budget this year.