What is govt’s strategy to thwart Imran Khan’s decision to quit assemblies?

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Imran Khan
Maulana Fazlur Rehman (C), the leader of the coalition government and parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) speaks along with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) and Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif during a press conference in Islamabad on July 25, 2022. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Islamabad: The coalition government at the centre, led by the PML-N, is strategizing possibilities to thwart Imran Khan’s move to dissolve assemblies in Punjab, KP, Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

In this regard, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has called a meeting of its parliamentary party in the Punjab Assembly to counter the expected move by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to dissolve the Punjab Assembly. The parliamentary party will meet today (Monday) to discuss the available options for dislodging the alliance of the PTI and PML-Q ruling the province or at least barring it from dissolving the assembly.

The meeting will take place today with Hamza Shehabz, opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, chairing the huddle.

Currently, the PML-N-led opposition in the Punjab assembly enjoys the support of 179 members, including those of the PPP, four independents, and one of the Rah-i-Haq Party. For a successful vote of no-confidence against the incumbent Chief Minister Pervez Elahi, the opposition requires the support of at least 7 more members. Per the Supreme Court order, members of one party cannot go against the party’s directions and vote for another party.

As such, the only option available to the opposition is that the Governor asks the Chief Minister to take a vote of confidence as, in this case, the disgruntled members of the ruling alliance may abstain during the no-confidence vote and may also avert their likely disqualification.

On the other hand, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has also called a meeting to discuss his plan with party leaders on Monday. The Punjab government spokesperson Musarrat Javed Cheema said the PTI chief had summoned the meeting in Lahore to consult party leaders on his announcement of resigning from the assemblies.

Punjab Assembly to be dissolved on Imran’s call: Elahi

Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi Sunday asserted that he would dissolve the Punjab Assembly within a minute after Imran Khan’s call. 

While talking to the media, Elahi said that he would break the trust of those to whom he swore allegiance. 

“We will immediately dissolve the provincial assembly whenever Imran Khan asks for it,” he added.

In a separate tweet, Moonis Elahi, son of Parvez Elahi, claimed that they would dissolve the assembly whenever Imran asked.