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Pakistan Govt may face no-trust motion

The real target of the no-trust motion will be Musharraf, whose resignation is being demanded by virtually the entire Opposition.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2006 11:58 IST

The government of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz may face a no-confidence motion in the Pakistan National Assembly on July 31 thanks to an Opposition move that is gathering momentum.

The real target, however, would be President Pervez Musharraf, whose resignation is being demanded by virtually the entire opposition phalanx that wants him to quit as Chief of the Army Staff as well.

The Opposition move received a big boost on Wednesday when the leadership of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), meeting in London, endorsed the no-confidence move of the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD).

While the party of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto took a firm stand, that of the other major party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is not yet clear.

The opposition is also moving in to frustrate any attempt Musharraf might make to seek a second term in the presidency, using the present legislatures as the electoral college.

There is no official word from Musharraf on this score, although he has talked to his supporters in the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid) and the latter in turn have gone public.

But the opposition is not leaving anything to chance. Mass resignations by legislators of provincial assemblies and members of the National Assembly (MNAs) have been sought to ensure that the electoral college is seriously truncated and voting in a presidential poll becomes difficult.

The opposition hopes that the world community would take note of any voting by a fractured electoral college comprising only Musharraf supporters.

"Almost the entire PPP leadership" has flown into London, The News reported from Islamabad, noting that it has left nothing to doubt about Bhutto's plans.

Like the ARD, which has held consultations earlier, Bhutto too secured resignations of all legislators "to be used at appropriate time," the newspaper said, adding the meeting included 54 members of the National Assembly and Senators.

All participants committed themselves to taking the recently signed 'Charter of Democracy' to the masses and discussed a strategy of mass mobilisation around the objectives enshrined in the 'Charter'. However, some members expressed their reservation over cooperation with the right wing Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

That the PPP and ARD, a centrist alliance, are uncomfortable with the right wing parties is well known. It also views with great suspicion the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), dominated by those who migrated from India during the 1947 Partition.

The meeting condemned the government for withdrawing corruption cases against the MQM leaders while continuing to implicate Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, in false cases. A non-bailable warrant had been issued last week against the two in one of the numerous cases.