ISLAMABAD - Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday claimed that at least three PTI MNAs had been offered money to buy their loyalties in order to achieve the required numbers for the success of the opposition's planned no-trust motion against the government.

The MNAs included a member from a minority seat and a female member of the National Assembly. The minister, however, didn’t disclose the identity of the MNAs who were approached to switch loyalties nor said anything about where the offer was made. “It’s a very shameful act on the part of the opposition that it is offering money for buying members of the parliament,” he said, daring the opposition to bring a no-confidence motion against the government in the next 24 hours. The minister lamented that both the big political parties of the country wanted to bring back the tradition of horse trading. We will not let this happen. We are keeping an eye on the matter, the minister added.

It started from the opposition side that their MNAs were receiving calls from Peshawar to support the government side on the issue of no-confidence motion and now the treasury has alleged that the opposition was trying to the buy loyalties of their MNAs as the opposition have geared up its efforts for success of its move. Talking to media in Islamabad, Fawad dubbed Zardari and Shahbaz the “two big traders” accusing them of meeting to discuss the “contributions they would make for horse-trading”.

Chaudhry said the two leaders had submitted certificates to the courts claiming they were ill but they were holding meetings publicly in visibly good health. “Shahbaz Sharif is out of jail just because his cases are not being heard on a day-to-day basis and chances are getting brighter that his cases will be taken up for hearing on a daily basis,” the minister added.

The information minister said that the government was preparing for the next elections and more relief packages will be announced for people in weeks to come. He also insisted that the country and the national economy were heading in the right direction.

He wondered at the IT minister’s criticism of PECA Ordinance as he said he was on board. He said he would ask him what his reservations were.

On Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Russia, Fawad said it was an extremely important visit. The whole world has fixed its eyes on the meeting between Prime Minister Khan and the Russian President in Moscow.

He said the premier had elaborated a day earlier that Pakistan did not want to become part of any bloc. He said the Ukrainian crisis should be handled very carefully as if this crisis grew it could entail food shortage.

Russia and Ukraine produce over 40 percent of the world's wheat, he added. He said Afghanistan is facing food shortage and economic crisis and the whole world is praising Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan adding that the government wanted to follow a balanced foreign policy.