PM lobbies parliamentarians ahead of confidence vote

Allies stand by Imran, say will support him through thick and thin

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday vowed to continue fighting against mafia groups and thugs, saying that he could not be persuaded by the politics of blackmail as the war with the mafia is still on and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies have to fight the mafia groups.

He expressed these views while addressing the parliamentary party meeting of the ruling coalition at Prime Minister’s House. According to sources in the ruling party, 176 members attended the parliamentary party meeting while Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, Syed Ali Zaidi, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and Amir Liaquat Hussain could not attend the meeting.

Party sources said that the four lawmakers were traveling and would join the vote of confidence while National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar would not be able to cast his vote as he would administer the lower house’s proceedings.

During the prime minister’s speech, the party lawmakers got emotional and chanted slogans to express solidarity with the prime minister. The lawmakers assured the prime minister of their blind support through thick or thin.

PM Imran made it clear to the lawmakers that even if he fails to win the vote of confidence, he will continue fighting the mafia and would bring more majority in the future.

“This time, I did not have a huge majority. I have more experience of winning and losing. I have no worries of losing. I would keep fighting the mafias,” he said.

The parliamentary party expressed full confidence in the prime minister and chanted slogans in his favour. The premier said that he had started politics for a purpose.

“I believe in democracy and freedom of opinion. My peace is to get rid of money from politics, those who are with me will be with me tomorrow. But those who do not trust me openly express, if I am wrong in your eyes, of course leave with me,” he said.

Premier Imran said that the people have entrusted the vote to the House. He said that to be honest, 16 of ruling coalition members sold themselves for money which led to the defeat of Hafeez Shaikh.

“You decide on the basis of conscience. If I fail in the no-confidence motion, I will get a majority in the future. I have more experience of winning and losing,” he said.

Imran said that he had no worries of losing the vote of confidence. “A man learns from mistakes and defeats. Even if I lose, I will bring more majority in future, this time I did not have a huge majority,” he said.

ALLIES ASSURE PM OF THEIR SUPPORT:

Earlier, a delegation of government allies, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) called on Prime Minister Imran. During the meeting, issues related to defeat in Senate election and vote of confidence were discussed.

Sources told Pakistan Today that the MQM-P delegation assured that they were and will remain allies and they are a part of the ruling coalition. The MQM-P delegation said that they would continue supporting the PM in any situation. Sources, however, said that MQM-P urged the prime minister to nominate MQM-P nominee for the slot of Senate deputy chairman.

During a meeting with the PML-Q delegation, the premier said that all the promises made to the allies would be fulfilled. The PML-Q delegation said that they had voted for Hafeez Shaikh and would also vote for the prime minister.

Sources said that the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) delegation also assured the government its full support for Prime Minister Imran.

“The allies have assured that they will give a vote of confidence to the prime minister. Imran Khan said that the coalition parties are part of the government and will remove all reservations,” a source said.

It is for the second time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister is seeking a vote of confidence from the House. On May 27, 1993, the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif had sought a vote of confidence.

The then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan had sacked Nawaz’s government in 1993, but the Supreme Court (SC) had restored the government and the next day Nawaz took a vote of confidence from the NA.

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Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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