Pak NA session
suddenly cancelled,
PML-N says enough
votes for ‘No confidence’


ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday set a precedent by cancelling a scheduled session of the National Assembly without any official announcement, generating a controversy and a debate among political circles.

The opposition termed the postponement a “bid to block an opportunity for Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to avoid a possible arrest in an alleged corruption case in Lahore on the ground of attending the NA session”.

LAHORE: Opposition Leader and Head of PML-N Shehbaz Sharif briefing journalists in Lahore on Saturday.

However, a source told Dawn that since the government wanted to promulgate some ordinances (an authority vested in the president), the session had been shelved. Presently, the Senate is also not in session, and an ordinance is promulgated by the president when neither house of parliament is in session.

A spokesperson for the Presi­dency said a notification for summoning the NA session on Feb 18 was issued on Feb 14. However, he agreed that the postponement had not been notified. He said a summary for summoning and postponement of an NA session is initiated by the law ministry.

The source further said some senior leaders of the ruling Pak­istan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) put their heads together at National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser’s residence on Thursday night and decided to have Friday’s session shelved.

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing a meeting to review overall situation including the law-and-order in Lahore. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Chief Secretary and IG Police are also present.

Interestingly, no new date was announced for holding the postponed session of the lower house of parliament. Shehbaz Sharif, after finding out about the postponement, told the media outside the special court in Lahore that the NA session had been put off as the government was hoping he would be indicted on Feb 18.

He alleged that the government was using parliament for its vested interests, destroying constitutional norms. It was unprecedented that a scheduled session of the NA had been shelved in such a manner without any notification, he remarked.

Fawad Choudhary

Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Russia on Feb 23 was one of the reasons for postponement of the NA session.

In reply to a question, he rejected the claim by Shehbaz Sharif that the session was called off so that the PML-N leader could not get any relief from the court on the ground of a session of the lower house.

Under Article 54(1) of the Constitution, the president has the authority to “summon either House or both Houses of [Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament)] in joint sitting to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit and may also prorogue the same”.

Sanaullah says enough support for no-trust move

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah on Saturday claimed that the opposition was in touch with “more than enough” government lawmakers required to “abolish” Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vote of confidence in the parliament.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the opposition alliance of which Sanaullah’s party is also a member, is currently planning to move a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, who had won his vote of confidence from the National Assembly last year by securing 178 votes — six more than required.

While the opposition did not have enough numbers to oust the prime minister back then, Sanaullah is confident that the situation would be different this time.

Talking to the media in Lahore today, the PML-N leader said: “More people than are required to abolish their (government’s) vote of confidence — their own people — are ready to leave them and in contact with us (the opposition) as well.”

LAHORE: PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah talks to the media in Lahore on Saturday.

The PML-N leader said the government’s own members were “frustrated” with it and no longer wished to conduct politics or contest next elections alongside it.

He said the leadership of the PML-N and other opposition parties would decide and announce whether a no-confidence move would be brought in the Punjab Assembly first or the Centre. “The people who are with us are with us. Even if they have later talked about them (their talks) differently in front of the press, we don’t have a grievance about it,” Sanaullah said, possibly referring to the recent talks held between the PML-N and PML-Q leadership, following which PML-Q’s Moonis Elahi had publicly assured the premier that he did not need to worry about the meetings.

Sanaullah said the opposition was in talks with the government’s allies and “we have full trust there.”

Questioning the government’s continued stance that it faces no threat from the opposition, the PML-N leader said that if that was the case then why the number of ministries were being increased and development funds being doled out in different constituencies.

“This proves what they were saying [about us] was wrong … with the people’s prayers the no-confidence move will be successful.”

He also said the opposition was not looking towards any “umpire’s finger” — a reference to the establishment’s support — and demanded that no “finger” should interfere in the political process. “Politics is the job of political parties,” he added, stressing that all institutions should work within their constitutional limits.

KARACHI: Supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami demonstrating in Karachi against price hike.

“If all institutions did this, then it would not make a difference whether a presidential or parliamentary system was present in the country,” Sanaullah said.

The PML-N lawmaker also lashed out at PM Imran’s speech in Mandi Bahauddin, claiming that the premier was concerned with crushing dissent and its critics such as Mohsin Jamil Baig and the opposition instead of focusing on issues of law and order in the country.

Sanaullah also criticised the government for “failing to provide proof” in the accusations and cases registered against the opposition such as himself and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif.

Meanwhile. PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb made similar comments as Sanaullah during a press conference in Lahore today.

“The nation has rejected you,” she said while addressing the prime minister. “You will get to know how many of PTI’s people are left with you in the no-confidence motion. As for these remaining few rented spokespersons, not a single one will be standing with you when you lose the seat [of power].”

Aurangzeb said the time had come for Prime Minister Imran to go home, predicting he would do so before the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s long march towards Islamabad on March 23.

She also said the opposition’s preparations and strategy for the no-confidence move were complete. “Today is the right time when the opposition and their own people are united and ready to send them home,” she added.

Court defers prosecution

The Special Central Court in Lahore has postponed the prosecution in the FIA ​​money laundering case and allowed extension of interim bail of Shehbaz Sharif and his family members.

The NAB has accused Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz, Suleiman Shahbaz and others of laundering Rs 16 billion and possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. He was to be charged on Friday, February 18.

Justice Ejajul Ahsan heard the money laundering case and both Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz appeared in the court.

During the proceedings, Shahbaz Sharif told the court that he spent seven months in Kot Lakhpat Jail and during this time FIA ​​officials came to him only twice. He presented his signed explanation to the FIA, which sent a copy of his submission to the UK’s National Crime Agency, and two years later the National Crime Agency announced the end of the investigation against him.

He said that if he had deposited the illegal money, he would not have returned to Pakistan.

After the proceedings, the court decided to adjourn the indictment and extend his interim bail till February 28. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till February 28.

Imran Khan is biggest mafia: Hamza Shahbaz

Talking to reporters outside the court, Hamza Shahbaz said that the FIA ​​has registered all kinds of cases against him whether it is about the sugar scandal, money laundering or corruption.

He said “one person” [Imran Khan] Those who are sitting in the PM House asked their Advocate General to give information about Mohsin Baig. It shows that he is burning in the fire of vengeance.”

He sent his men to Mohsin’s house, where they dragged him outside his house and violated the sanctity of morality. He said that even the judge has termed the move illegal.

He is the biggest mafia, fascist and did everything possible to shut down the media.

He also condemned the murder of Sama TV’s senior producer Athar Mateen, who was shot dead on Friday morning in Karachi.

Hamza Shahbaz said that Pakistan has been included in the countries where journalists are unsafe and people are being killed everywhere. He said that none of the Safe City cameras are on and the officers are neglecting their duties.