Though the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s session is likely to be summoned on October 23, five opposition parties in the house seem to be double-minded about the no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
The combined opposition had submitted a no-confidence motion against the chief minister on August 19 but since then, it has been sitting ‘conveniently quiet’ and has yet to come up with a clear plan of action on it.
After submitting the no-confidence motion, opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman had insisted the move was meant to save the assembly from dissolution. Before Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf launched the movement against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in the centre, there were widespread speculations that PTI chairman Imran Khan could use the dissolution of the provincial assembly as a ‘trump card’ to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif into announcing mid-term elections in the country. An MPA of the opposition benches acknowledged division among opposition parties over the no-confidence motion and told Dawn that the no trust motion against the chief minister could be withdrawn.
He said the opposition parties had yet to make the strategy of how to get the votes required for the success of the motion. The MPA said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Quami Watan Party wanted to go ahead with the motion against the chief minister but Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Awami National Party seemed to be disinterested. “The tabling of the no-trust motion will be a futile exercise because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is least bothered about toppling the PTI government in the province,” he said. The MPA said parliamentary leaders of opposition parties would meet before the session to make final decision whether to table or withdraw no trust move against Pervez Khattak. In the 124-member assembly, the opposition’s strength is 54, while the members of the coalition partners total 70.
Specifically, JUI-F has 17 seats, PML-N 17, QWP 10, and ANP and Pakistan People’s Party five each. PTI, Jamaat-i-Islami and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad are part of the ruling coalition. The opposition parties require 63 votes for the success of the no-trust motion against the chief minister, who had given an open challenge to them to remove him. When contacted, PML-N parliamentary leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha said he had discussed the matter with opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman and that parliamentary leaders of opposition parties were likely to meet in Peshawar on Thursday.
He said the opposition parties were in contact with disgruntled PTI MPA Javed Naseem and other members of the ‘pressure group’ to muster their support for no trust move. The PML-N leader dispelled the impression that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had no interest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and said MPAs of his party were free to make decisions in the interest of the party and the province. -dawn