PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal has disagreed with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s recommendation that a no-confidence motion bid must be mounted by the Opposition, instead of holding rallies.
During a press conference on Saturday, a day after the PPP Chairman made the suggestion, Iqbal said that this is an “old recommendation”.
He said the tactic did not work in the Senate when a no-confidence motion was tabled to oust the chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani, and deputy chairman Mandviwalla, despite the Opposition having the numbers required.
Iqbal did however invite Bilawal to share any numbers he may have which could lead to a successful vote.
“This is a PPP recommendation, an old one […] but where the PML-N is concerned, we believe that if Bilawal Bhutto sahab has such numbers, then he may definitely share them with us if he believes can help the Opposition table a no-confidence motion.
“In the Senate (bid to oust the chairman and deputy chairman), we saw that despite having the numbers, we did not succeed in such a vote,” Iqbal said.
The PML-N secretary-general said there is “only one path” the Opposition must take, and that is a “decisive long march” against the government.
He said March is an ideal month for the long march.
Rana Sanaullah, meanwhile, was of the view that a no-confidence motion is also possible, given the fact that “the coalition parties may choose to distance themselves” from the government, after all the “scandals” that have emerged against the PTI.
‘Govt trying to divert attention from its failures’
Iqbal said that the government brings up issues like Panama and Broadsheet “to divert attention from its failures”.
“After crying Panama, Panama they came into power through election rigging, and now they want to divert attention from their failures by raising a hue and cry about Broadsheet,” he said.
Referring to Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed’s categorisation of the matter as “Panama 2”, he said that the Panama Papers case — that led to the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — was a “fraud” and “so is Broadsheet”.
He said the government is “hiding the true facts” behind the Broadsheet scandal.
Iqbal said that if the government is serious about the investigation of Broadsheet, it should have contacted Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif.
“Let us investigate it and form a parliamentary commission by consensus,” said the PML-N stalwart.
He criticised the government for instead appointing “their own man”, who will simply give a “clean chit” and “wipe the issue away”, referring to retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who has been named as the head of the government committee probing the Broadsheet scandal, and whose appointment has been strongly opposed by the PML-N.
The party has even asked Saeed to recuse himself from the position.
Also addressing the interior minister’s remarks that Saeed has “read volume 10” of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in the Panama Papers case, Iqbal said: “Whether it is Volume 10, or 20, these are all tall tales — like the Arabian Nights.”
“The nation does not want to read Volume 10. It wants to know why the economy stands at 0.4% from a previous level of 5.80%,” he continued.
The nation wants to know why the prices of flour, sugar and pulses doubled and tripled and why electricity and gas are not available, Iqbal added.
In further criticism of the government, with regard to its spending, the PML-N leader said that it could not sign the agreement for financing on ML1 in two-and-a-half years.
The government does not have the development budget to start a new project, he added.
Iqbal said that “a development budget of Rs1 trillion has been reduced to Rs550 billion and only 39% was utilised in six months”.