ISLAMABAD - The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has focused on its allies and disgruntled party lawmakers to counter the efforts of the opposition to move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The government is in constant contact with its coalition partners and is also trying to woo the estranged lawmakers of PTI through some senior party leaders, background interviews with some senior PTI leaders revealed.

The government stepped up its efforts in this connection after the leadership of the opposition parties recently held meetings with its major allies — MQM and PML-Q — besides meeting with PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen. The estranged party leader Tareen heads a group of dissident lawmakers of PTI both from the National and Punjab assemblies after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) charged him of corrupt practices in the sugar scam.

The recent announcement of PM Imran Khan to expand the federal and Punjab cabinets is also part of the strategy to persuade the allies to keep intact the coalition in the wake of expected no-confidence motion. The PM also plans to visit MQM-Pakistan’s central office in Karachi after the conclusion of his two-day visit to Russia and it is likely that he would announce some package for the party that is an important ally of his government.

A PTI insider told The Nation that the estranged party lawmakers would also be issued development funds as this was the long-standing desire of many politicians belonging to the ruling party.

But senior PTI leader and Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem refuted the impression being given by the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) that the ruling party feels the heat due to recent meetings of opposition leadership with its allies and Tareen.

Government is in constant contact with its coalition partners and trying to woo estranged lawmakers of PTI through some senior party leaders

“Our allies have openly supported us and PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen also stands by the party at the moment,” Senator Waseem, who is also a close aide to PM Khan, told the Nation in an interview. He stressed that PTI lawmakers who were unhappy with the party over certain issues would not ditch the government by voting in support of a no-confidence motion against the premier.  “They are all part of PTI and they stand by the party leadership.”

Senator Waseem said that it was the democratic right of opposition to bring a no-trust motion but they were bound to fail in their recent effort to remove PM Khan. The opposition would need 172 votes in the National Assembly to make the no-confidence motion successful but so far, they have failed to show the required number. “With such efforts to oust the sitting government, the opposition would only expose itself politically.”  He reminded that the government, in the last couple of weeks, has defeated the opposition twice in the Senate where the latter enjoyed majority.

The leader of the house concluded by saying that the opposition only wanted to make itself politically relevant through such moves.