As expected, the National Assembly session, with a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on top of the agenda, was adjourned by Speaker Asad Qaiser till 4pm on Monday (March 28).
The speaker announced adjournment of the session after ‘fateha’ as per the traditions of the lower house of parliament to show respect for departed MNA Khayal Zaman of the ruling PTI.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri offered fateha for the PTI’s MNA from Hangu and others who were killed in Peshawar and Sibi terror attacks.
“Since this is the tradition of this house, that whenever an respectable member [of the assembly] passes away, the [NA] session is adjourned till the next [working] day in their honour,” Qaiser said.
He said that the tradition has been followed nine times in the 12th assembly, four times in the 13th assembly, six times in the 14th assembly and five times in the current assembly.
Speaker Qaiser had convened the session last Sunday.
The NA secretariat had issued a 15-point order of the day, with the no-trust motion against PM Imran included on the agenda for the crucial session, alongside other affairs.
In response to the no-confidence motion, Qaiser said he would allow the debate on the no-confidence motion as per the Constitution on Monday.
As he adjourned the session, the opposition leaders started protesting, requesting the speaker to take up the motion but the speaker did not turn their mics on and retired to his chamber.
At least 150 opposition members out of 162 were present in the house.
After the session, opposition leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha said they had the required number to send the PM packing.
He hoped that the allies would also give them the good news and that the number of lawmakers supporting the no-trust vote against the premier would ‘cross 200’.
The opposition, which has 162 members, filed the no-confidence motion on March 8. The motion, moved by 152 opposition members, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had lost the confidence of the house. The ruling coalition currently has the support of 179 members of the National Assembly.
FAWAD CHAUDHRY: Commenting on the adjournment of the session, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said nothing more will happen in the Parliament House today.
“Nothing else will take place in the assembly session; everything will happen in Qaddafi Stadium,” he said referring to the final day of the third cricket Test between Pakistan and Australia.
SHEHBAZ WARNING: After the adjournment of the session, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif warned that if the no-confidence motion was not tabled on Monday, then they would not be responsible for what would come next.
He censured the speaker for acting in a partisan manner.
“Asad Qaiser acted as a PTI worker instead of the National Assembly speaker,” he said, adding that the opposition would resort to legal and constitutional protests if Qaiser tried to “act as a slave [of PM Imran]”.
He added that the speaker had committed an unconstitutional act by not calling the session within 14 days of the submission of the no-trust motion.
Ahead of the National Assembly as the opposition leaders arrived at the Parliament House, they vowed to create an uproar if the session was adjourned without the tabling of the no-confidence motion.
PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had said they will create a ruckus if the no-confidence motion was not tabled. “Victory or defeat is in the hands of Allah, but I am 100 per cent confident of our victory,” he said, adding that they were fully prepared. “Wait and watch and you will see what we will do.”
BILAWAL ANGRY: PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said PM Imran would become a “former premier” as soon as the session of the assembly would commence. He termed the no-confidence motion as “their democratic weapons”.
“The opposition is united, and it would not let Imran escape,” he said ahead of the session.
SHAH MAHMOOD QURESHI: The allies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who have been sitting on the fence for almost a month now will probably make their decision about the no-confidence motion, stated Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
He hoped that the allies will decide today and as per his calculations, the allies “should support the PTI government.”
The foreign minister said MQM-Pakistan should side with the ruling PTI. “We embraced the MQM-P after the PPP mistreated them. We gave them representation in the government in addition to the Karachi package and a university in Hyderabad. The PTI government would want to continue the alliance with the MQM-P.”
About the PML-Q, the minister said Pervaiz Elahi was a “wise man” and added that the PML-N was offering the PML-Q the post of the chief minister.
“If a chief minister is from a minority party, then it wouldn’t be logical because the majority party will influence the decisions of the cabinet,” he said.