Pakistan's parliamentary opposition has given notice of a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's government, a move that is bound to fail for want of numbers in the National Assembly.
The opposition however insisted Wednesday that it was not merely a numbers' game and that it was determined to raise numerous issues targeting President Pervez Musharraf, a 'dictator', who rules while retaining the army chief's post.
Parliamentary leaders of the combined opposition gave a formal notice to the National Assembly's secretary and met Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain, submitting a no-confidence motion in the form of a 500-page document listing charges and raising 30 major issues of financial irregularities and scams during the Aziz government's rule.
"We submitted the motion under Clause (1) of the Article 91 of the Constitution and, under rules, the fate of the motion would be decided within seven days," said Aitzaz Ahsan, who played a central role in drafting the motion.
The no-trust motion would require a simple majority to pass and get the government to resign.
However, only 103 members signed the notice and the total opposition strength is far short of the required majority.
The motion's text contains 30 major financial irregularities and scandals of the Shaukat Aziz government including stock market crashes in the last two years, sugar and cement crises, irregularities in purchase of locomotives from China, Mangla dam raising, Port Qasim plot allotments, oil price scam and violation of several provisions of the Constitution, The News International said.
A confident Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani told media that the motion was bound to be defeated, after which the opposition risked losing some of their members to the treasury benches.
He spoke in terms of the government acquiring a two-thirds majority in such a case.
"Shaukat Aziz is a puppet in the hands of the dictator and our main aim is to take on the dictatorship to restore the civilian democratic rule in the country," the opposition leaders told media after meeting the Speaker.
The motion against Prime Minister Aziz is the second such move in the country's parliamentary history that is dotted by martial law regimes and legislatures that are guided by the military rulers. No National Assembly has completed its term so far.
Earlier in 1989, Benazir Bhutto had survived such a move, although much stronger forces were arrayed against her government.
Media reports said the 500-page text of the no-confidence motion contains the details with press clippings of the alleged mega financial corruption unearthed during the tenure of the present government.
The major thrust is on the Supreme Court judgment on the Pakistan Steel Mills' privatisation. The government's bid to privatise the sick mills was challenged and the apex court observed that it was done "in indecent haste".