Turbulent Political Situation in Pakistan: Capital Islamabad, in the Line of Fire

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Political temperature of Islamabad is at its peak. Both treasury and opposition benches in the national assembly claimed that they have sufficient numbers for “vote of no confidence resolution”. At least 12 members’ national assembly (MNA) deviated from Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) government and apparently it seems that they will join the opposition on ‘vote of no trust resolution’. These deviated MNAs were staying in Sindh House, Islamabad, where the PTI workers tried to attack them last week (18 March). PTI workers claimed that these MNA were elected on PTI tickets during general elections 2018 and now they are crossing the floor and they are involved in Horse Trading. PTI believes these aberrant MNAs are engaged in conspiracy against the government and allegedly be part of a ‘vote of no confidence’ against the PM. Police have registered a case against PTI workers in connection with the attack on Sindh House in the federal capital Islamabad. According to the FIR, 15 to 20 workers tried to enter the Sindh House in the form of a group. The main entrance of the Sindh House was partially destroyed by the workers.

Islamabad Police have included the names of two MNAs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the FIR against Sindh House attack. According to sources, the names of PTI MNA Faheem Khan and Attaullah from Karachi have been incorporated, and both the members have been interrogated. Police sources said that MNAs were clearly visible in all the CCTV footage during the attack on Sindh House. Most of the workers linked in the attack came in the vehicles of these two MNAs.

There were claims by government ministers and even by Imran Khan himself that members of his party were kept in the Sindh House. It was also alleged that money was distributed in the Sindh House to buy votes, but the opposition, especially the Pakistan People Party (PPP), denied the allegations of money.

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The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has taken notice of the incident and summoned the report from Inspector General Police (IGP) Islamabad. On March 21, 2022, IGP Islamabad Muhammad Ahsan Younis submitted the report of attack on Sindh House to the Supreme Court, in which it was said that more than 2 dozen people protested on Sindh House, the gate of Sindh House was damaged during the protest. The report said that a case has been registered against the rioters. Two members (MNAs) were also present outside Sindh House in the protest. Cases have been registered against both the government members. The IG Islamabad said that the charges against the accused were bail-able and therefore they were released on personal bail. The apex court directed the IG Islamabad to take action in accordance with the law and asked all political parties to assist the court through their lawyers. The Supreme Court issued notices to all political parties including PTI, PML-N, JUI-F and PPP and made them ‘party’ in the case.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari in his statement said, ‘This is not an attack on Sindh House but an attack on the symbol of Sindh province in the federation. Imran Khan is actually trying to attack Sindh province. He said that the people of Pakistan have seen who has democratic values and who doesn’t, everyone knows who wants to spread chaos and push the country towards anarchy. Imran Khan also hurt the federal identity of Pakistan, this attack is unbearable for us’.

While speaking to Eat News Federal Information Minister Fawad Chudhery said, “Notices have been issued to dissident PTI members and they have been asked to clarify their position within seven days. In a week’s time, their seats will be declared vacant and all members will be disqualified for life. New members are being nominated for the reserved seats”.

During a telephonic conversation with Eat News, Federal Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid said, “Whether the government wins or loses on the opposition’s no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, it will only benefit Imran Khan as he has gained more popularity among the people than ever. The whole of Pakistan stands with Imran Khan and the outcome of the no-confidence motion will be known to all. I am convinced with the political philosophy and insight of PM Imran Khan”.

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PM Imran Khan during a public gathering accused the opposition for foul-play and claimed the vote of no trust against him is an international and external conspiracy. The PM said ‘Those MNAs who made the mistake and deviated from PTI, I am asking them to rejoin us, I will forgive and forget. For people of Pakistan, it is time to decide where they standing’.  Without naming three opposition leaders (Asif Zardari, Shahbaz Sharif, Moulana Fazal ur Rehman), PM Imran Khan said “these three slave-minded people are the part and partial of international conspiracy against the sitting government”.  

Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that the opposition is trying to bribe government members, with stolen money. Both the judiciary and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) are watching this looting. It was the funeral of a democracy that PTI Member National Assembly (MNAs) are being kept in Sindh House.

After the opposition filed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, tension escalated on March 10, 2022, when Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) volunteer force Ansar ul Islam was invited to protect opposition lawmakers inside parliament lodges. As result a large contingent of police raided Parliament Lodges and evacuate it from the members of Ansar ul Islam. This incident created a mess and confusion in the capital.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that security of Parliament House, MNA Lodges and old MNA House will be handed over to Rangers and FC on the day of voting on no-confidence motion. This step is being taken so that there is no incident in the country that could bring Pakistan into disrepute. “If anyone takes the law into their hands, I don’t care how big or credible the leader is. I will crush them” he was speaking to Eat News.

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Meanwhile, opposition parties announced a long march against the government and instructed their workers to reach the capital on 25th of this month.

Government is holding its show of street power on 27th March in Islamabad while the National Session for No confidence motion is expected on March 28, 2022.

 

Political Experts believe that upcoming weeks would be very critical for Pakistan. Time will decide whether ‘No Trust Motion’ will be successful or not, but in either case this event will bring a new era of politics in the country. 

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Muhammad Farhan Niazi is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan and is an experienced senior producer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in feature and news writing, non-linear editing, radio, multimedia journalism, Online journalism, film production, and sound. Strong media and communication professional graduated from University of Peshawar.

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