RE/ISLAMABAD In the wake of MQMs decision to sit on opposition benches, the PPP leadership is confident that the PML-N and the PML-Q will not support any no-confidence motion if moved in the National Assembly against PM Gilani by any of the opposition parties.
Reliable sources in the PPP told TheNation on Sunday that both the opposition parties had already reached an understanding with the PPP that they would not become part of any move to destabilise the present set up, while the ANP had openly said it would continue to support the prime minister.
They said neither the MQM nor the JUI-F would dare to bring no-confidence motion against Gilani because they knew that they would not find allies to support the move from amongst the PML-N and the PML-Q. The sources also quoted several statements of PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and central PML-Q leader Ch Pervaiz Elahi to substantiate the view that the two major parties wanted continuity.
Meanwhile, it has been decided at the top level that President Zardari will not ask Prime Minister Gilani to take fresh vote of confidence from the National Assembly despite the pressure by any side. The onus to prove that PM Gilani has lost majority in the House lies on those who are claiming so, said PPP Secretary Information Fauzia Wahab said while talking to TheNation.
She also disagreed with the opinion that the government had lost majority in the National Assembly after pulling out of one of the major coalition partners. PM Gilani is the only prime minister in countrys political history to have been elected unanimously; and as of now only 32 out of 342 members have decided to sit on opposition benches, she argued to substantiate her point that PM still enjoys support of majority of the members.
If any of the political parties having representation in the House thinks that the PM has lost the required support, it should prove this by bringing no-confidence motion against him, she challenged.
It is to be noted that under the current scenario, the Constitution provides two procedures to ask the prime minister to prove his majority in the House. One: the president may ask the PM to seek fresh vote of confidence from National Assembly, if, in his opinion, the PM does not command the confidence of majority of NA members (Article-91); and two: a resolution for a vote of no-confidence may be moved by not less than twenty per cent of the total membership of the National Assembly (Article-95).
The MQM and JUI-F together have just 32 members in a House of 342. They need the support of at least 68 members (20 per cent of 342) to move a non-confidence motion against the prime minister. Now it is quite clear that the two parties who have decided to sit on opposition benches are not in a position even to bring a no-confidence motion against the PM, which can only be moved and passed if the PML-N, 91 members, and the PML-Q with 51 legislators also join hands with them. Will these two parties or any one of them support any such move against the government? The answer is 'No as the things stand today.
Background interviews with the PPP leaders and sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed The Nation that over the past couple of weeks the PPP leadership had been in contact with PML-N leaders, as people like Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Khawaja Asif and some other key leaders from both sides were busy shuttling between the leadership of both the political parties to narrow down the widening mistrust and bring them closer for the collective benefit of the incumbent political dispensation.
The sources in the PPP claimed that ice on both sides had started melting, especially the dirty episode of exchange of barbs between the MQM and the PML-N leaders had pushed both sides closer, as PML-N had not come up with plain 'no on the PPPs request of support to the incumbent political system and sought time to discuss the matter with the core group in the party.
The sources in the PML-N say they want to see an end to the exploitative politics of pressure groups, which is neither in the interests of the country nor the political system.
These sources said following the washing of dirty linen by MQM and PML-N in open, President Asif Ali Zardari had talked to Mian Nawaz Sharif on telephone ostensibly to console him but actually he had sought his help for strengthening political system and to save the system from an imminent blackmail at the hands of MQM. Though Nawaz Sharif has not made any pledge, at the same time he has not said 'no to him.
The sources claim that both the parties are near to striking some common ground on the matter and the PML-N would likely bail PPP out from this tricky situation adding that ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan had also played a role in softening the stance of Nawaz Sharif towards the government.
In another development, Premier Gilani would meet Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif today (Monday) to discuss the current political situation in the country, and surely, he would take up the issue of seeking PML-Ns support in keeping his coalition government intact.