Politicial Bribes

For Pak Opposition, it’s now or never to table a motion of no confidence to oust Imran Khan

By Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

New Delhi, March 7: As the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) once again keeps Pakistan on its ‘grey list’ of terrorist financing, Pakistan’s united opposition has even more ammunition against Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The anti-Khan is now ready to table a no-confidence motion against the beleaguered prime minister.

Pakistan People’s Party leader and former Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf has asked Imran Khan to summon the National Assembly and explain why the country has been unable to come off the “grey” list since 2018.

But Imran Khan is not ready to fall into the trap set by the opposition, which is ready to file a notice of requisition of a session of the National Assembly within a few days to file the motion of censure. According to Pakistani media, the opinion is signed by 86 members of the assembly while it requires only 68. The opposition is determined to table motions of no confidence not only against Imran Khan, but against the president as well as the vice president so that they couldn’t play any “mischief”.

But the big question is when will the opposition table the no-confidence motion it has been discussing for two months?

According to Pakistani sources, the main reason for the delay, among others, is that the opposition wanted to be sure that the Pakistani military establishment would not come to the aid of its Prime Minister Khan. Another reason was that PPP leaders were not in favor of snap polls after Imran Khan’s exit as Nawaz Sharif held on to a snap election.

“Now the deadlock is over and there is a consensus to hold immediate elections,” said Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman, leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, a united platform of 11 anti-Imran Khan parties.

The opposition’s decision to take the plunge follows weeks of hectic politics from opposition heavyweights and government stalwarts. They aimed to secure 20 votes from ruling party allies while trying to poach an equal number from the Imran Khan-led government. The strength of the opposition stands at 163, 9 less than the magic number of 172 to oust Khan. The total number of allied votes is 17.

“Yes, we have the numbers. The no confidence motion would be like a ‘walk in the park’ for the opposition parties now that we have the magic number to overthrow the government,” Rehman said, adding that next week is very crucial. .

The opposition also hopes that “if the arbiter (military establishment)” is neutral, more members of the ruling parties might break ranks when they see the opposition has the numbers needed without them.

Imran Khan is feeling the heat and has deployed all his state and government resources to thwart the opposition, including arrests of opposition figures, political bribes to allies and harassment of independent media. Khan claims he and the military establishment are on the same page.

Pakistani insiders say Imran Khan is unable to “digest” the military establishment getting rid of their blue-eyed boy.

“Khan is different from the Sharifs or the Bhuttos. He thinks that with the help of ‘divine’ powers he can outwit the opposition and the army. Khan has openly stated that he would be dangerous for those who tried to defeat him. hunt,” said a Pakistani observer. , adding that he could announce an election. Imran Khan can also ask the President to prorogue the Assembly session indefinitely for technical reasons. After all, the next general election will take place next year.

Despite all these apprehensions, Pakistani experts believe that this is the last chance for the opposition to depose Imran Khan.

The opposition has done its homework but nothing is guaranteed in Pakistan’s current hybrid regime.

“They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s now or never,” writes veteran Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi in his Friday Times column.