Beleaguered Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is leaving no stone unturned to avoid what experts say is a looming defeat when the National Assembly votes on the no-confidence motion against his government on Sunday. He played an emotional card by claiming that his life was in danger, in an interview with ARY News.
Khan said that not only he has credible information that his life was in danger but also that the Opposition is “playing in foreign hands” and will also resort to his and his wife’s character assassination. Earlier, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had also claimed that a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister has been reported by the country’s security agencies.
At the same time, his party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has prepared references seeking disqualification of its 20 dissident lawmakers, according to report in Dawn. The Pakistani newspaper reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved filing of references against the dissidents, who have joined the opposition camp to support the no-confidence motion against him.
On Thursday, the PTI had issued final show-cause notices to dissidents asking them to explain their position by April 1. On Friday, Khan, as chairman of the PTI, dismissed as unreasonable the explanations submitted by the dissidents, a statement issued by the party said.
“The PTI said documentary evidence of horse-trading would also be provided along the references to the National Assembly speaker,” the Dawn report adds.
Dawn also reported top opposition leaders’ warning to the government against any “unconstitutional or undemocratic step to obstruct the democratic move”.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif at a press conference accused the Prime Minister of staging a drama of international conspiracy and said the so-called ‘threatening letter’ received from America was the last-ditch effort to escape the no-confidence resolution against him in the name of national security threat.
Speaking at a separate press conference, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said there would be “severe consequences” if the PTI government tried to stop any member of National Assembly from going to parliament. He said that Article 6 of the Constitution would come into play in case somebody tried to subvert, sabotage or undermine a constitutional process through use of force. He said the same would also apply to the National Assembly speaker.
In the interview with ARY News, Khan said that the “establishment” (the powerful military) gave him three options — no-confidence vote, early elections or resignation as the Prime Minister. “We said elections is the best option, I cannot even think about resigning and as far as the no-confidence vote is concerned, I believe in fighting till the end,” Dawn quoted him as saying.
Pointing out that several members of PTI had defected to the opposition ahead of the no-trust vote, Khan said that even if the opposition’s no-trust move failed, “We cannot run the government with such people (defectors).” Asked whether he was prepared to go for early elections, he replied, “If we win [in] this [no-confidence] vote, it is a very good idea to go for early elections,” Dawn reported.