The proverbial war of attrition over the number game in parliament between the government and the opposition seems to be intensifying with each passing day, as both the rival camps are laying claims to have the required strength to defeat each other’s move.
Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, who on Saturday said that the opposition parties had failed to buy members of parliament in an effort to garner support for their no-trust move against the prime minister “… some dealers increased the rate when persons (MPs) did not detach… even the new rate too did not serve the purpose (horse-trading),” the minister wrote on his Twitter handle.
Azhar said he heard that ‘some dealers’ had increased the rate to buy the MPs, who remained steadfast and loyal to their party, from their ‘illegitimate income and stolen money’. He mocked the opposition for failing to trap in the MPs saying, “Even the new rate did not work.”
During a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad asked the opposition to come to its senses, saying that some short-sighted people considered the “no-confidence motion” a “child’s play”.
“These rejected people are talking about no-confidence just to satisfy their whims, but they could not build any pressure on the government,” Rashid said. “The government is strong and will complete its constitutional term under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.
Punjab government spokesperson Hassaan Khawar said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) had denied lending support to the opposition on the proposed no-confidence motion. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said that government was in contact with the Jahangir Tareen group.
“The Chaudhry brothers are decent politicians and they will take a well thought-out decision. [Federal Minister] Monis Elahi and other leaders of the PML-Q have denied supporting the opposition on the no-confidence motion,” Khawar told reporters in Lahore.
Separately, talking to reporters during a friendly hockey match at the Ashfaq Nadeem Hockey Stadium, Law Minister Basharat said that the government was in contact with all its allies as well the disgruntled party leader Tareen. “Everyone is with the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab President and former law minister Rana Sanaullah, on a query about the no-confidence motion, said the PML-N was optimistic about the success. “They [all opposition parties] are united at the moment,” he said, while responding to a question whether the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and other parties were united on the motion.