Two of the three Opposition bigwigs, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari censured National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser for not letting them table the resolution for the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“[Asad Qaiser] once again trampled the law and Parliament’s tradition under his feet just like any member of the ruling PTI, not as the speaker of the National Assembly,” Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif — flanked by Bilawal and other Opposition parties’ leaders — said while addressing a press conference after Friday’s brief session.
He said that NA Speaker Qaiser along with “Imran Niazi” committed the offence under Article 6 of the Constitution.
“The speaker’s role will be remembered as [traitorous]. The speaker did not open my mic and allow me to speak,” Shehbaz complained.
The crucial NA session to deliberate over the no-confidence motion against the prime minister was adjourned as expected till Monday, March 28.
The NA speaker, who chaired the session, wrapped it up almost immediately after it started with the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Shehbaz went on to say that the last date of calling a session to deliberate on the no-confidence motion was March 22 as the requisition was submitted on March 8.
As the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s session was scheduled from March 22-23, the speaker could have called the session before the OIC moot, he argued.
“Since he did not call the session on the sanctioned time, and supported PM Imran Khan, he has violated Article 6 (which deals with treason),” Shehbaz said.
The Opposition leader said that the tradition of adjourning the first NA session held after the demise of an MNA could have been avoided today after reciting Fateha for the deceased MNA as the no-confidence motion is a “crucial” matter.
“Pakistan is at a standstill, the entire nation is looking towards us […] the entire economy is in tatters. The speaker should have allowed voting on the no-confidence motion,” he said.
Shehbaz added that the nation will always remember Qaiser as a person who violated the Constitution.
“We warn the speaker if he makes a move against the constitution on March 28, we will use all legal and political tactics.”
Qaiser has become the “stooge” of PM Imran Khan instead of remaining the speaker.
For his part, the PPP chairman said PM Imran Khan was trying to delay the session, but he could keep evading for only so long. “The captain has left the pitch — like always.”
Bilawal said the government was trying to use all tactics at its disposal to avoid voting on the no-confidence motion. He vowed that the Opposition was united and it would not back down.
“…the prime minister has lost the house’s majority. Our incumbent prime minister will soon become the ex-prime minister,” the PPP chairman said.
In response to a question, the PPP chairman said the next prime minister would be “elected”. At this, Shehbaz said that Bilawal does not believe in the “selection” of prime ministers.
Meanwhile, JUI-F’s Maulana Asad Mehmood said the speaker, despite being the custodian of the House, spoke like the prime minister’s “servant”.
“The Constitution laws, and regulations were violated in Parliament today […] the speaker has given practical proof of partiality,” Mehmood, who is the son of PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said.
He regretted that after the incident at Sindh House — where scores of PTI workers stormed the lodges to throw out dissident PTI MPs “seeking refuge” at Sindh House — the speaker did not contact anyone.
But we are not going anywhere and will show our strength inside and outside Parliament, he said.