ISLAMABAD - Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N on Monday announced it would not support the move to deseat PTI lawmakers at the National Assembly session, requesting MQM and JUI-F to withdraw their motions to be taken up today (Tuesday).

PML-N, having majority in the house, got immediate support from PPP, JI and Fata members, but both the movers of the motions, JUI-F and MQM, kept mum till the end of the proceedings over the issue.

“PML-N will not vote in favour of the motions to deseat PTI lawmakers,” said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on a point of order, giving a sigh of relief to PTI MNAs. PML-N would not become part of any campaign to deseat PTI members.

“If MQM withdraws the motion, we will appreciate it while the JUI-F chief has hinted it may take back their motion against PTI members,” said the finance minister, sharing the message of the prime minister about the party’s strategy on the motions. PML-N wants to move forward with all the parties on national issues as they jointly worked on CPEC, National Action Plan (NAP) and other matters.

Taking the floor, PTI lawmaker Arif Ali lauded the government’s spirit behind the step to vote in favour of his party’s MNAs. “We appreciate the spirit of the government as it wants continuation of democracy,” said Alvi.

PPP, the major opposition party, also announced to support PTI lawmakers during voting on the motions against them. “We also ask MQM and JUI-F to withdraw their motions,” said PPP Parliamentary Leader Aijaz Jhakrani.

Jamaat-e-Islami MNA Sher Akbar, on his turn, also adopted the same stance and asked both the parties to take back their motions. A senior lawmaker from Fata, GG Jamal, repeated the same demand.

The house witnessed an interesting dialogue when AML chief Sheikh Rashid remarked that it was good for him that he had not tendered resignation as he might have been deseated in a minute. “Thanks God, I had not submitted resignation as you (the speaker) might have deseated me in a minute,” said Rashid.

“You are talking about one minute. I might not have taken two seconds,” Speaker Ayaz Sadiq respond in a lighter vein.

The motion to deseat PTI lawmakers for being absent without informing the National Assembly speaker office might be withdrawn by JUI-F as hinted by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, but MQM will not withdraw its motion.

A lawmaker from the treasury benches, at the fag-end of the proceedings, came down hard on MQM chief Altaf Hussain for making statements against the army. “Don’t issue such statements against Pakistan and abusive language against the army as it is tantamount to disloyalty to the country,” said Maj (r) Tahir Iqbal, asking MQM MNAs not to follow Altaf’s anti-Pakistan statements blindly. He criticised MQM for taking benefits during the Musharraf era, saying the party was now changing its stance regarding the army. He alleged MQM was involved in crimes, including extortion, murders etc. “Many of you even don’t know how they are being used. Think about it,” he advised MQM members, triggering uproar from the Muttahida.

Earlier, the government side said Pakistan’s principled position on the Kashmir dispute was based on historical facts in line with the UN Security Council resolutions. “These resolutions provide for the final settlement of the issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiri people,” said Federal Minister for Trade and Commerce Khurram Dastagir, responding to a call-attention notice. He said the government has been playing its role and raising the issue at all forums.

Responding to a question by a PTI lawmaker about working of the Kashmir Committee, he said this non-partisan committee was formed to show the commitment of public and the Parliament.

To a question why the Kashmir problem was not taken up with the Indian prime minister, he said the core issue had been an important segment of the dialogue process with India, which has been on hold since January 2013 due to the Indian attitude. Pakistan not only underlined the need to resolve the Kashmir issue at the UN in New York, but also highlighted human rights violations in the valley at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, he added.

He said Pakistan used every opportunity to highlight the issue of Kashmir dispute and blatant human rights violations by the Indian security forces. “It is our commitment to give moral and diplomatic support to the people of the occupied Kashmir,” he said, adding Pakistan wants a constructive and purposeful dialogue with India to resolve the issue. “We firmly believe that for a durable solution to the Kashmir problem, Kashmiris should be associated with the dialogue process,” he added.

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, offering his remarks, said a five-member delegation of the British Parliament during their visit last week had assured Pakistan of taking up the Kashmir issue in the UK Parliament.

Responding to the PTI lawmaker, Special Committee on Kashmir Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman said he had expressed his serious concern at a meeting with the prime minister about the terms of reference of the committee. He also asked the Parliament to discuss it at length by placing it on the agenda any day. “How can I summon a meeting when some members in my view are not part of the Parliament,” said the JUI-F chief, ostensibly referring to PTI lawmakers. He also said the Kashmir Committee should be further strengthened by inducting members of the Senate in it.

Earlier, Climate Change Minister Senator Mushahidullah stressed the need for campaign against the mafia involved in cutting trees. “We have to stop cutting of forests as it is a big cause of climate change,” he said.

A report of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) from year 2009 to 2012 was also presented in the National Assembly as required by clause (4) of Article 230 of the Constitution. The report was tabled in the house by Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights Pervaiz Rasheed.