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Government’s responsibility to maintain law and order amid protests: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

The opposition has presented the vote of no confidence to topple the federal government, accusing it of mismanaging the economy and of poor governance. The move comes after the opposition, led by Pakistan People's Party, rallied thousands of supporters in a demonstration against the government and the rising inflation, which the opposition claims is a consequence of the incumbent government's "incompetence".

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Secretary-General of Pakistan Democratic Party (PDM) and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in a TV interview last night on the 13th of March, outlined the agenda set forth in view of the vote of the no-confidence motion. He said that before the house is convened and the motion of no-confidence is taken up in the national assembly, the opposition would hold a protest in the capital. The government has also hinted towards holding a protest in the federal capital.

When questioned whether the protests would create a law and order situation in the country’s capital, he replied, “it is the government’s responsibility to maintain law and order”. In reply to a question about the aim of the no-confidence motion, he said that the opposition was seeking the “ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan”, who had repeatedly failed to deliver on his promises.

Read More: Opposition pins hope for no-trust move on PTI members?

The opposition has presented the vote of no-confidence to topple the federal government, accusing it of mismanaging the economy and of poor governance. The move comes after the opposition, led by Pakistan People’s Party, rallied thousands of supporters in a demonstration against the government and the rising inflation, which the opposition claims is a consequence of the incumbent government’s “incompetence”.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in the interview said that the only reason for the delays in convening of the lower house session was because Imran Khan wanted “more time” to secure votes in his favour in the National Assembly.

Eversince the threat of vote of no-confidence surfaced, Imran Khan has been in a political turmoil. Aleem Khan, a former minister of Punjab and a close aide to Imran Khan, has joined the Tareen group and is rumoured to have held a meeting with Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan’s political rival. Furthermore reports have emerged that PML-Q, a long time support of the ruling party, has joined hands with the opposition in their bid against the government. However, a final decision is awaited by the party.

Read More: Is PM Khan’s future in jeopardy after no-confidence motion?

Pervez Elahi, spokesperson of the Punjab Assembly and leader of PMLQ in a press conference said that “Final consultations are under way with our colleagues,” adding that his party was working together with the other two allies in the ruling coalition — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) indicating that the PML-Q, MQM and BAP would make a joint decision.

The Prime Minister has requested the governor Sindh to meet with the coalition parties and to pacify the situation.

The government recently raided the parliament lodges after reports arose that members of the Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force, entered the lodges. The police allegedly arrested 19 individuals, including two Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s (JUI’s) sitting members of the National Assembly, Salahuddin Ayubi and Maulana Jamal-ud-Din.

Read More: PTI Sindh leader warns PTI members will go to jail

Amid tensions, purported advice by the opposition to its members of the national assembly is “stay inside the parliament lodges” for their own safety. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi confirmed this in his interview, who said that in the past, members had been arrested (in 1989) before the motion of no-confidence was presented in the lower house.

The opposition would require 172 in its favor for the motion to be successful.

Reports of a vote of no-confidence against the speaker of the National Assembly against his “biased remarks” have also emerged.