Oppn may spare Musharraf to target Aziz
The Opposition may target the Shaukat Aziz government through a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.india Updated: Jul 12, 2006 15:54 IST
With the stand of the rightwing alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) unclear, the Opposition in Pakistan may drop plans to impeach President Pervez Musharraf and instead target the Shaukat Aziz government through a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
Plans still in the making are for a parliamentary confrontation on August 2, according to media speculation.
In effect, the Opposition hopes to pressurise Musharraf into announcing plans for the parliamentary polls.
Some of the parties have already secured the resignations of their lawmakers to force this and also to ensure that Musharraf does not seek a second term in the presidency through the existing legislatures.
The Nation, quoting sources in the opposition camps, said members of the ruling alliance were not willing to announce their position publicly as they want the opposition to make its move first.
"No one among the treasury members (dissidents) is ready to disclose his/her affiliation with the Opposition before the secret balloting," the sources said while referring to informal contacts of the leadership of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) with dissident members of the ruling parties.
Since impeachment of the president will require two-thirds majority support for any motion to be admitted, legal experts have said it is "far-fetched."
According to the party position in the National Assembly, the opposition needs the signatures of at least 69 MNAs (parliamentarians) to submit a no-confidence motion against the prime minister and the signatures of 171 members for calling a house session for the president's impeachment.
"It is impossible to obtain the signatures of 171 members for the impeachment motion."
However, the ARD can go ahead with a no-confidence move even without support of the MMA as its total strength, including smaller parties, stands at 74.
The MMA has a total of 63 seats in the National Assembly and both the Opposition alliances constitute a grand total of 137 members.
Under Article 47 of the Constitution, two-third majority vote in both houses of parliament is required for a successful impeachment motion whereas a simple majority is needed for the adoption of a no-confidence motion against the government.
The assembly speaker is bound to call the house within seven days after receiving an impeachment motion.
The ARD is the prime mover after endorsing the Charter of Democracy of two former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif who from their exile are trying to oust Musharraf.
The ARD leaders, after meeting the former premiers on July 2 in London, had spoken of going in for motions against the prime minister and for the impeachment of President Musharraf.