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Govt to hold power show at D-chowk on day of no confidence voting

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday made it clear that the lawmakers who “crossed floor” in the Lower House could be disqualified by National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser, and that “no one could challenge that”.

Talking to the media in Islamabad he said that all political parties had given this right to the speaker in the 18th Amendment in a bid to stop horse-trading and that this right could not be challenged by anyone.

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“Let them (opposition) do what they want to do. Imran Khan is on his way towards winning. The speaker has the right to disqualify any PTI member who disrespects the votes they gained due to Imran Khan,” he said.

The minister said the week from March 23 to 30 would be an “important one”.

The interior minister went on to say those members who go against the party line would be “politically surrounded”.

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His comments came in the aftermath of the joint opposition submitting a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday along with a formal request to requisition the assembly session.

The move prompted the government to come up with a strategy, which, according to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, is that MNAs of the PTI and its allies would not be present in the NA on the day of voting on the no-trust resolution.

Meanwhile, the interior minister said he had urged PTI supporters to be present at Islamabad’s D-Chowk on the day of the vote to celebrate a “day of thanksgiving” for the prime minister’s success.

Responding to claims from the opposition that the “umpire” – a reference to the establishment – was neutral, he asked opposition leaders to stick to this narrative in case the no-trust move fails.

Speaking on other matters, he pushed back against a question on the prime minister’s criticism of the European Union at a recent public gathering. “What’s so wrong if the premier presented a foreign policy stance in front of the people when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto did so as well?”

He said Pakistan was not part of any bloc – Russian, American or Chinese – and wanted good relations with all powers. Separately, Sheikh Rashid said all the chief secretaries and inspectors general had been directed to eradicate the menace of terrorism and terrorists.

He said international conspiracies were being hatched against Pakistan, adding that the IGs had been directed to be vigilant. Separately, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Thursday alleged that three major opposition parties had launched a malicious campaign against state institutions for their vested interest.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders in a meeting earlier in the day expressed their serious concern over the opposition’s propaganda campaign against an institution,” he said while addressing a news conference where he played multiple video clips of opposition leaders claiming that they could be seen giving statements against national institutions.



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