PM Shehbaz brushes off ‘threat of contempt’, says vote of confidence upholds Parliament’s supremacy

The development came days after Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb vehemently refuted reports claiming that the premier had decided to seek a vote of confidence from Parliament.


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the National Assembly after the lower House of parliament expresses confidence in him on Thursday. — Photo courtesy: NA: Twitter

April 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif secured a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Thursday, with 180 lawmakers reposing “full confidence” in his leadership as the premier.

After the House reposed confidence in him, the premier spoke at length about recent orders of the higher judiciary, expressing reservations on rulings that questioned parliament’s confidence in him and warned of “serious consequences”.

The unexpected development came days after Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb vehemently refuted reports claiming that the premier had decided to seek a vote of confidence from Parliament.

The resolution for the trust vote, moved by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, stated: “The National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan reposes its full confidence in the leadership of Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, as the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”


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After the resolution was moved, voting was conducted with lawmakers in favour of adopting the resolution rising from their seats.

Subsequently, NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf announced that 180 members of the House had risen from their seats in favour of the resolution.

“Consequently, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has obtained the vote of confidence from the National Assembly and commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly as prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said amid thumping of desks by lawmakers.

The NA speaker further said that had late Mufti Abdul Shakoor — the federal religious affairs minister who died in a car accident earlier this month — been present at today’s session, the premier would have garnered 181 votes in his support.

After the passing of the resolution, PM Shehbaz Sharif addressed the House and thanked the lawmakers for reposing confidence in him and assured them that he would never let them down.

Speaking about the 2018 polls, he termed them “fraud elections” and alleged that the polls were rigged. “And the [former chief justice of Pakistan] Saqib Nisar ruled that the votes will not be recounted,” he said, adding that the polls were rigged by other means too.

The premier lamented that no investigation was conducted into the rigging allegations so far and demanded a probe into the matter.

He also referred to a recent audio clip — purportedly of a conversation between ex-CJP Nisar and PTI legal adviser Khawaja Tariq Rahim regarding a high-profile case currently being heard by the Supreme Court — and reiterated the allegation that former judge had been involved in “rigging” the 2018 elections to make the PTI win.

The premier then went on to say that Parliament’s decisions were being challenged today.

“This Parliament elected me as the prime minister. If this Parliament reaches a decision after debate and obliges the government and cabinet, then it is mandatory for me to respect its decision. It is mandatory for me to stand by them,” he said, vowing to stand by Parliament on its decisions.

“My government is standing with them […] no matter what,” he asserted.

In an apparent to a Supreme Court ruling, wherein the government was barred from implementing a bill clipping the CJP’s powers following its enactment, the premier said: “It is not possible that Parliament frames a law and the judiciary issues a stay order on it even before it is enforced.”

He was emphatic in saying that only Parliament had the right to make and amend the Constitution.

“The judiciary does not have the right to rewrite the Constitution […] This is the violation of law and Constitution that is happening today,” he said, lamenting that when Parliament objected to it, it had to face “threats of contempt”.

Referring to another top court order, he rued that the ruling stated if “you don’t abide by our orders, it means that the prime minister has lost the [confidence] of the majority of the House”.

“But the House has given its verdict today,” he added.

In this connection, the premier also said the House “has rejected the decision of a three-member SC bench and accepted a 4-3 verdict”.


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He went on to say that even if he was sent packing in response to the vote of confidence held today, “I am ready to go back a thousand times, but I will not let them down”.

The PM further said the government had decided to invite the PTI for talks, even when some in the ruling coalition had very “strong views” on the matter.

“But we convinced them that there was no harm in holding talks. And so we decided yesterday to send our representatives to the Senate for negotiations, and we will hopefully initiate talks today,” he said, adding, “But what will be the agenda of the negotiations? That elections be held across Pakistan on the same day.”


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He questioned why was the SC only taking up the matter of elections in Punjab and not in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“If elections are only held in Punjab six months before [than polls are held in the rest of the country]? That Punjab, God forbid, is exploiting Pakistan?” he remarked, reiterating the government’s stance of holding elections across Pakistan on the same day.

“And if the PTI agrees on this, we will send our delegation for talks with them today,” PM Shehbaz said, adding that Imran Khan’s party would also be held accountable for “all that happened” during their tenure in the government.

Then, referring to another court ruling, he said a verdict was given that the law pertaining suo motu would remain in place until further orders.

“This is not justice but brazenness. It is brazenness that the sanctity and constitutional status of this Parliament is being challenged,” he said, reiterating, “No power in this world can snatch Parliament’s respect and constitutional right.”

Taking to Twitter later in the day, the premier thanked the PML-N parliamentary party as well as the leadership and legislators of the coalition party for their “continued trust in me”.

“Coalition politics is a unique experience in Pakistan’s democratic evolution. We are united in strengthening Parliament and saying no to politics of diktat,” he said.



PTI insists Shehbaz has lost House’s confidence

Meanwhile, PTI leaders insisted that the premier had lost the confidence of the House.

PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said the prime minister had lost the confidence of the House because the vote of 20 MNAs belonging to the PTI were not counted.

“Shahbaz Sharif has the support of only 160 members of the assembly instead of 172 members. Today’s vote is a big defeat for Shahbaz Sharif and the Pakistan Democratic Movement,” he added.



Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari said the “crime minister” could seek as many trust votes from a “truncated National Assembly” which had no validity before the people.

“Nor can he wilfully violate the Constitution. Meanwhile, as of today, there is no legal caretaker government in Punjab. Criminal Mohsin Naqvi should toodle off home now or he will be liable,” she tweeted.



Mazari added that the vote of PTI MNAs present in the parliament were counted in favour of PM Shehbaz because “no rules or laws” were being followed.



PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan said the public didn’t trust the people who were voting in favour of PM Shehbaz.



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