Pakistan: Test of Imran’s political fate in Parliament tomorrow

at 7:21 pm
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

New Delhi (NVI): Two and a half years after taking over as Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan’s political fate hangs in balance as he is seeking a vote of confidence of the National Assembly or the lower House of Parliament tomorrow amidst a major political crisis.

Khan, who is heading the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government since August 2018, has called for the vote after a shocking defeat of his Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the bitterly-contested Senate election on Wednesday. Shaikh lost to Yousuf Raza Gilani, former Prime Minister and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party.

Ever since the defeat, Khan has been crying foul, saying the elections were not held in a fair manner and that money was used to get Gilani elected. He has said that 15-16 of his party MPs were bought.

He has even attacked the Election Commission for refusing to have polling in the Senate elections by open vote and doing it by secret balloting. The Election Commission today hit back by saying that the Prime Minister should not throw mud at the constitutional body but learn to accept electoral defeat.

A day after the Senate election defeat, the Prime Minister addressed the nation last night, saying that he would not hesitate to sit in the Opposition if he lost the confidence vote.

Much significantly, before addressing the nation over television, Khan met the chief of all-powerful Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, and Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. This was interesting since Khan has often been described by the Opposition as a “Selected PM”, which means that he became the Prime Minister only because of the Army.

PML(N) leader Maryam Nawaz today slammed the meeting of Gen Bajwa and Gen Hameed with Khan amidst the political developments, saying the military leadership “should not have been seen” with the Prime Minister after the “battering” suffered by the ruling PTI party in the Senate elections.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Maryam, who is the daughter of PML(N) chief and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Khan was “dragging” institutions into politics.

She said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General, who is the official spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, had repeatedly said that politicians should not to drag the military into political matters.

“I think instead of saying this to the public, he should tell Prime Minister Imran Khan sahib that ‘you have lost, been humiliated, failed, and lost the trust of the people […] so kindly do not drag us into this politics,'” the PML(N) leader added.

She also said that the military leadership “should not have been seen sitting with Imran Khan at any cost a day after he suffered a battering [and] faced the people’s and public representatives’ wrath, when he (Imran) was busy in machinations and rigging.”

To a question about the National Assembly session called tomorrow, in which Imran Khan will seek a vote of confidence, she said, “I congratulate the President for summoning the session and saying that the prime minister has lost the confidence of the people… The summary sent by the President accepts that Imran has lost the confidence of the public and I demand that this summary be made public.”

On the Election Commission’s statement issued in response to Imran Khan’s criticism of the body, Maryam said the entire nation and all institutions now understood “what a mafia is and how they pressurise and defame institutions”.