Appointing Pervaiz Elahi as the chief minister of Punjab is not off the table, revealed a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
“All I want to say right now is that it is not off the table,” PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah told, refusing to provide any further details.
There has been speculation of late that the opposition political parties, who are gearing up to table a vote of no confidence against the prime minister, could appoint Pervaiz Elahi, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) as the chief minister of Punjab.
In Punjab, the PML-Q is a rival political party of the PML-N, the largest opposition party in the country. Yet, on February 13, PML-N’s president Shehbaz Sharif met the leadership of the PML-Q after a gap of 14 years to garner support for the no-trust vote.
Speaking about the vote, Sanaullah said that the timing, of when the resolution will be tabled, and the who it be tabled against first, the speaker of the national assembly or Prime Minister Imran Khan, will be decided by three people: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI)’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PMLN’s Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Asif Ali Zardari.
On Wednesday, Rehman announced that a joint opposition could table the no-confidence vote within 48 hours.
But Sanaullah said he was not sure why Rehman gave the 48-hour deadline, since the national assembly is not in session at the moment.
“The government has adjourned the national assembly session twice, then there is repair work in the main hall for an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meet,” he said.
The PML-N leader explained that one option for the opposition was to submit a requisition for a session, but then the speaker will have 14-days’ time to call a session.
“Tabling a resolution and its voting takes seven days, as per the law. And if the speaker has another 14 days to call a session, then that adds up to 21 or 22 days. Now to keep things in order for 21 or 22 days, might not be easy [for the opposition],” he said, “Remember the government has power and might.”
It could be possible that the vote of no confidence be tabled after the OIC summit on March 22, he said.
When asked about the possibility of the immediate election if the prime minister is voted out, Sanaullah said that it was clear to all opposition parties that both the options – early elections or the completion of tenure till 2023 – were “not practicable”.
“Any government that comes will need to take certain steps before next polls like electoral reforms, and discuss election commission’s capacity. Then there is the issue of the population census,” he said. “It could take four or even eight months to address these issues to ensure free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal told that is likely the opposition will submit a requisition to call a national assembly session on Friday or Monday.