ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid on Thursday seemed confident about the government’s ability to defeat the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying those Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers who will cross the floor to vote against the premier will be disqualified by the speaker.
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, the federal minister said the speaker has powers to disqualify lawmakers over possible defection.
At the time of the passage of the 18th Amendment, all political parties decided to give these powers to the speaker to stop horse-trading, Rashid claimed. “No one can challenge the ruling of the speaker,” he went on to add.
He said those PTI lawmakers who vote against Imran will face the wrath of the people as well as the political repercussions of their actions.
He further said those PTI lawmakers who sold their vote for money will also face “political encirclement” by the PTI workers. On the day of voting, all followers of Imran will gather outside the National Assembly to celebrate his victory, he added.
Speaking about the allies of the ruling party, the minister said he was sure that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) will stand with Imran Khan. Speaking about Pir Pagara, the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), the minister said he has great relations with him. “I can only comment on these two people,” Rashid said, adding that he could not comment on the politics of Punjab.
According to the minister, the last week of March will be important. He claimed that the premier will defeat the no-trust move against him and the government will “make an April fool” out of the opposition.
Calling the PML-N, PPP and JUI-F “three rivals parties”, he said these parties joined hands against Imran for their “vested interests” and to evade “accountability”.
Speaking about the establishment’s reported neutrality, Rashid said the opposition is saying that the “umpire” is neutral in the move against Imran. The minister advised them to stick to these words after the result of the no-trust move.
He said the rally by the PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was “disappointing”. He claimed the number of security personnel at the rally exceeded the number of participants.
In response to a question regarding PM Imran’s rants against the European Union, Rashid said former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto – who founded the PPP – used to rail against the imperial powers during his political gatherings. Bhutto used to put “foreign policy before the nation”, he said, adding that if Imran “put a policy statement” before the nation then he has seen Bhutto doing the same.
About criticism by the opposition over the remarks by the premier, he said the opposition thinks that the “imperial thinking is their thinking, but it is “not the thinking of the Pakistani people”. He said Pakistan was not part of any block as it wanted to have ties with all superpowers. Rashid said every Pakistani can feel proud as under the leadership of Imran the country has an independent foreign policy.
He said the premier will launch the e-passport facility later this month.
In response to a question, he said the police raid on the Korean embassy was embarrassing and apologised for the incident.