Reports have emerged that at least four dissident members of the ruling party, including Raja Riaz, Noor Alam Khan, and Basit Bukhari, have sided with the opposition in their vote of no-confidence. In a major jolt to the PTI government, Raja Riaz, a member of the ruling party and of the national assembly, announced that he would be voting against the ruling party in the following vote of no-confidence. Talking to Geo News anchorperson Hamid Mir, the ruling party’s MNA said, “we enjoy the support of two dozen more MNA’s” who would come out and vote against the ruling party.
Raja Riaz, member of the Tareen group, was joined by several other MNA’s who revealed that no money had been offered to them and they would be voting solely in accordance with their “conscience”. Referring to the government’s raid on the parliament lodges, Riaz said he feared that a similar action could be taken against dissident members. He asked for the Prime Minister’s guarantee that the government would take no such against them. He further added that he would not move to the lodges until the government provides any such guarantees.
Imran Khan recently alleged that on March 09 that one of the PTI MNA’s informed him that he was offered Rs. 200 million to vote against PM Khan, further adding that several other MNA’s also got the same offer. Last month, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also alleged that three PTI MNAs had been offered bribes.
Raja Riaz and Noor Alam Khan, the dissenting MNA’s, expressed their disappointment at the sort of allegations being leveled against them. Noor Alam said that “When we came to Imran Khan sahab and had voted for him, were we given Rs. 200 million then? When we voted for the speaker, did we get 200 million then?”
MNA Malik Nawab Sher Waseer, last of the four dissident members, while speaking to senior anchor, Hamid Mir, revealed that he would not contest in the next election on a PTI ticket.
PML-Q senior party leader and speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Parvez Elahi, a day earlier also hinted at the possibility of several ruling party MNA’s staying at the Sindh house. In a sarcastic tone, he said that a dozen PTI members had “gone missing”.
The PML-Q is also another party speculated to be an ‘at-risk’ ally of the ruling party. PML-Q currently has five seats in the National Assembly, with two portfolios — Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Housing & Works — in the federal cabinet along with speakership in Punjab Assembly and can play a major role in shifting balance against any side. As per various sources, PML-Q was also offered the Punjab Chief Minister slot in exchange for their support against the government in this current vote of no-confidence.
Earlier today, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry revealed that a large amount of money, for the purpose of horse-trading, was being transported to the Sindh house in Islamabad. He further added that police had also been called to detain people in the house and that the government was “planning strong action” against alleged horse-trading and detention of MNAs at Sindh House.
Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote on Twitter that “MNAs have been threatened with violence, arrest & dire consequences if they take part in the no-confidence process.” Prior to this, Maryum Aurangzeb, Spokesperson for the Pakistan Muslim League, while talking to media, said that Imran Khan knows that his own political death is imminent” hence he was acting so impulsively.