PTI parliamentarians walked out of NA after their PM candidate, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, announced to boycott polling process
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarians walked out of the National Assembly after their candidate, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, announced to boycott the polling process.
The session formally started after a brief delay with a recitation of the Holy Quran and naat, with NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri in the chair.
The Opposition’s joint candidate and PML-N President Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif is likely to be elected unopposed as PTI decided to boycott the session shortly before it started, with resignations of PTI lawmakers continuing to pour in on social media. The PTI had nominated former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as its candidate.
At the outset of the session, Qasim Suri said that voting has already been done on the no-trust motion [against Imran Khan] and there has been enough debate over the ruling he gave on April 3, which blocked the no-trust vote against Khan. “Complying with the court’s orders is mandatory for everyone, but I want to put the reasons and basis of my ruling before you. “I made the decision as a patriotic Pakistani, as a guardian and speaker of the NA,” he said.
“I want to tell you that the foreign cable was deliberated over during the meetings of federal cabinet, the PCNS, NSC and it was agreed that the no-confidence motion against Khan is a foreign plot,” he said.
Qasim Suri went on to say that the last cabinet meeting that was held on April 9, 2022, decided to declassify the foreign cable. He said that the cable was then received by former NA speaker Asad Qaiser, who closely read it. Suri then flashed the “cable”, saying that he also received it as the deputy speaker. “In this cable, Pakistan has been openly threatened.”
Qasim Suri reiterated that the cable was received before the motion of no-confidence was submitted against Khan. He asked if it was Khan’s fault that he talked about an independent foreign policy or spoke for the honour of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), or fought the case against Islamophobia. The deputy speaker asked if Pakistan is not a free country. “Was Khan punished for not accepting slavery?” Suri then announced that he will send the declassified cable in a “sealed” envelope to the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Suri concluded by saying that he has accepted the apex court’s decision to reverse his ruling and the restoration of the Assembly as it was, and has tried to run parliamentary affairs as per NA rules and the Constitution. He then allowed former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to speak.
Taking the floor, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that today’s constitutional process has to end today as some will be declared a winner today, while the other one will be declared “free”. “The nation has two paths; one path is of self-respect while the other one is of slavery,” he said, appreciating Imran Khan for trusting him [Qureshi] by nominating him.
Calling PTI a “relatively” new party compared to other parties, he said it has managed to leave a strong impression on the minds of the public. Qureshi pointed towards the treasury benches, saying that today, the nation can see that on one side are people who share the same pro-country ideology and on the other side, people are only united and are sitting with several ideologies.
The PTI vice-chairman said: “In view of PTI members, the unity among the Opposition benches is unnatural because history knows that there is no ideological unity. among them”.
Recalling several incidents, he said: “History bears witness that they have always tried to bring each other down.” Qureshi said that they may think that some of them [Opposition members] have won while the people on the treasury benches have lost; however, the nation showed them yesterday who are they standing with.
Referring to last night’s protests staged by PTI supporters in various cities — both in Pakistan and abroad — he said that people came out on the streets on Imran Khan’s call which shows that today “some people will lose despite winning in the assembly while others will win even if they lose the race of prime ministership.”
“Imran Khan has taught the nation how to live an independent life,” he said, adding that despite being a graduate of Oxford University, he promoted the national language and national dress of Pakistan on all occasions. Qureshi went on to say that when Imran Khan met Donald Trump in the White House, he was wearing a Peshwari chappal, while during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, he was wearing Shalwar Kameez.
Amid constant calls from the deputy speaker urging members sitting on the Opposition benches to maintain the order of the House, Qureshi continued saying that the Opposition members have formed a temporary collision that would not last long, adding that Shahbaz Sharif knows he does not have the “support of the people.”
Lashing out at the Opposition parties, the ex-foreign minister said PPP and PML-N could not think of appointing someone outside their families for the top office of the prime minister and chief minister. Qureshi said the PML-N and PPP were part of governments for 40 years but did not allow Imran Khan to even stay in power for even four years. “Were they not enough for you to introduce electoral reforms?”
The PTI leader said the people have rejected the coalition’s “imported government” — and it was not only witnessed in Pakistan but abroad as well.
“Let the people of Pakistan choose between an independent or an enslaved Pakistan […] do you want the Pakistan in which there are several diseases, or do you want a Pakistan which we envision,” the ex-foreign minister said.
Qureshi said in the “old Pakistan”, every child is in debt, a majority portion of the revenue goes into debt servicing, a “historic trade deficit”, International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) doors were knocked on, the GDP’s growth was stagnant, and unemployment was rising.
“In line with the party’s unanimous decision, we have decided not to partake in their (Opposition) illegal actions; we aspire for an independent Pakistan, and we announce to resign [from assemblies] today,” the PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced, followed by loud chants of “hum kya chahte hain? azadi.”
As the ex-foreign minister announced PTI’s decision, NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri also said his “conscience” does not allow him to hold the election for the new prime minister, therefore, he handed over the chair of the session to PML-N leader MNA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq — the senior-most member of the panel of chair. Panel of Chairman, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq conducted the voting for the leader of the house. Sardar Ayaz Saqiq announced the result that Shehbaz Sharif has secured 174 votes as PM candidate and his opponent Shah Mahmood Qureshi could not secure even a single vote.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan arrived at Parliament House ahead of the election for the new prime minister for the first time after his ouster as the premier. Upon the arrival of their leader, PTI members chanted slogans in his favour. When asked to comment on PTI’s massive power show on Sunday night, Khan said: “Izzat dene wala Allah hai (it is God who gives us respect).”
Tens of hundreds PTI supporters took to the streets across Pakistan to protest Khan’s removal from office, on his call. Imran Khan will chair a meeting of the parliamentary party to finalise the strategy for the PM’s election and decide about en masse resignations from the National Assembly, which has created division within the party.
Monday’s meeting is the first meeting of the parliamentary party after his removal from the office and the former PM, to the surprise of many, arrived early while the lawmakers came afterwards