ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary players in Pakistan, who want to dispose of Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani, need a minimum of 68 MNAs [members of National Assembly] just to move a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly against him.
The main opposition party, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, is in no mood at all to either move or support a no-trust motion, its senior leaders say. They point out that it is only the PML-N, which has the requisite number only to table a no-confidence resolution single-handed. They add that if any other party would like just to move such a motion, it would have to seek the support of other parliamentary groups because none of them has the required tally for the purpose.
The second largest opposition party in the National Assembly, the PML-Q of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has no plan to destabilize the Zardari-Gilani government, even slightly, let alone being part of a no-trust resolution. Shujaat and his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi want the government to complete its five-year term, and one of them even wants to take their relations with the Zardari’s PPP to new heights.
Other PML-Q leaders say that given their political placing and relevance due to their numerical parliamentary strength the Chaudhrys feel comfortable with the present federal dispensation that continues to pamper and gratify them although the PML-Q, as a whole, is angry over their camaraderie with the PPP. Its predominant majority wants the party to inch close to the PML-N, an idea the Chaudhrys despise.
They believe that the purpose of the frequent contacts, secret and announced, of President Zardari’s point man, Law Minister Babar Awan, with Chaudhrys especially the one after the departure of Fazlur Rehman’s JUI from the ruling coalition was meant to signal the message that the PPP also has other options if Rehman doesn’t review his decision.
After the latest telephonic conversation, some people even talked about the number of federal ministries that the PML-Q would be given following its joining of the ruling coalition. Most PML-Q MPs are not in the discipline of the party with Hamid Hiraj’ acceptance of the chairmanship of the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority being the most recent example.
The Chaudhrys clearly distanced themselves from his decision but Hiraj kept asserting that he got the office only after Elahi’s consent. Informed circles say Awan assured the president in the light of his closeness with the Chaudhrys that the government could count on the support of the PML-Q when it would be desperately needed.
The views of those opposing the Chaudhrys’ cosying up with the PPP were amply reflected by senior PML-Q leader Saleh Hayat when he said an alliance with the PPP could be the wish of some people but there could not be any cooperation with this party. “The government is a sinking boat and anybody boarding it will also drown.”
“We will not be part of any ‘dirty’ game like the no-confidence motion,” PML-N spokesman Senator Pervez Rashid sais. “But, the real question is which parliamentary party has talked about moving a no-trust resolution against the prime minister,” he posed a counter question and then himself answered it by saying “none.”
He said not even the JUI which has walked out of the coalition has spoken about moving a no-confidence motion against the prime minister. “Such a talk is not even in the air,” he believed. “We don’t have the majority in the National Assembly,” he said when asked about the possibility of moving the no-trust resolution.
Input from Agencies