Prime Minister Imran Khan’s supporters have been feeling too good and proud about the PTI government for the past two days. They passionately endorsed the idea of demanding an “indemnity bond” from Nawaz Sharif, before permitting him to go abroad to get himself diagnosed and treated.

“Looters and plunderers,” they kept asserting, deserve no mercy. “Ruthless accountability” of “the corrupt politicians,” taking turns in the government since 2008, must not appear succumbing to “emotional blackmail.”

The PTI base feels doubly delighted, also for the fact that in spite of staying put in Islamabad with an impressive crowd for two weeks, Maulana Fazlur Rehman eventually opted to fold his dharna, without extracting any assuaging promise from the government.

We were forced to imagine that from now on the PTI government would adopt a firm stance to deal with its opponents. There hardly was any space left to bend and seek the so-called “middle ground.”

At the outset of the National Assembly sitting Friday, however, we received an entirely different message. Senator Azam Swati, the minister of parliamentary affairs, took the floor to break the “good news” that the government had decided to withdraw “laws,” it had passed in bulldozing haste around two weeks ago.

Since taking over on August 8, 2018, the PTI government had been complaining non-stop that the non-government parties were wantonly abusing their majority in the Senate to block the passage and execution of fresh laws, desperately required to furnish good governance in the country.

In sheer frustration, it was thus compelled to introduce laws through Presidential Ordinances. Above and beyond the parliament, the law ministry prepared not one but eleven Ordinances for President Arif Alvi to sign and he took no time to issue them on the first working day of the current month.

A week after its signing the hastily prepared Ordinances, the National Assembly was summoned to meet on Nov 7. At the outset of its proceedings, the government announced the intent of converting those Ordinances into Bills. All of them were later approved in less than two hours, thanks to slavish “Ayes” that kept resonating from the treasury benches.

Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker, had presided the “historic sitting” of November 7. He acted deaf to opposition’s protest and disregarded their presence with arrogant contempt. Hardly a handful of ruling party legislators knew a thing or two regarding the laws, they had passed, gleefully. Disregarding the fact that some of these laws were loaded with long-term consequences.

Pakistan Medical and Dental Council(PMDC), for example, had radically been revamped due to the same laws passed in haste. This Council is considered too lucrative; for, it regulates all businesses related to health and “medical colleges,” established by the private investors.

Another Ordinance-turned-law on Nov 7, aimed at helping the government to acquire land and fix the price of it to fulfill the prime ministerial dream of providing “cheap and affordable” housing, all across the country.

Most people, familiar with legislative nitty-gritty, including the PTI supporters, seriously felt that the manner in which the said laws had been adopted could certainly be questioned in courts. The laws, passed in haste, also smacked of serious “conflict of interests.”

A day after these laws were passed, Khawaja Asif stood in the house to clearly tell the Speaker that the PML-N would soon be approaching the superior courts to challenge the validity of laws, which were passed on November 7. Threatening this, he also announced that the opposition was all set to move a vote of no confidence against the Deputy Speaker.

The opposition has yet not approached the courts to question the validity of laws passed on November 7. But it took no time to post a motion of no confidence against Qasim Suri and we had been waiting for a headcount on it. But in return of announcing the withdrawal of not one but eleven ordinance, the government persuaded the opposition to withdraw the motion of no confidence, submitted against the Deputy Speaker.

In spite of showing its muscles with take-no-prisoners boasts, the PTI government had eventually opted to bend and crawl to the proverbial “middle crowd” for appeasing and pleasing the opposition. The question remains: “Why it opted to bend in spite of pretending hard and tough, of late?”

Most journalists prefer to believe that the government turned ‘soft,” primarily for the fear that it might not be able to protect Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker, when the motion of no confidence against him would eventually be put for “secret balloting.”

Before discussing the issue further, let me reveal that Pakistan Peoples Party, the second largest opposition party in the National Assembly, has not been feeling good and comfortable with the manner “the PML-N has moved against the Deputy Speaker without taking us on board.” The PPP had yet not decided how to vote, if and when the motion of no confidence against Qasim Suri is to be put for the headcount.

With or without being aware of the PPP’s hesitance, the government preferred to protect Qasim Suri by yielding to the opposition by withdrawing ordinances, it had tried to enforce by exclusively relying on its numerical edge in the National Assembly.

That “edge,” however, began to expose its vulnerabilities, of late, essentially due to the tough posturing it had adopted for dealing with the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s going abroad for treatment.

The PML-Q of the crafty Chaudhrys of Gujrat, is one of the important allies of the PTI government. Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, a friends-to-all kind of the former Chief Minister of Punjab, currently holds the office of the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly. Both he and his very experienced cousin, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, had loudly been distancing themselves from the demand that to ensure his departure for treatment abroad, Nawaz Sharif must submit an indemnity bond. Both of them also played a key role in persuading Maulana Fazlur Rehman to fold his dharna of Islamabad.

The MQM, another ally of the government, also opposed the condition of indemnity bond while talking to media and through one of its MNAs in the National Assembly. Grand National Alliance, comprising anti-PPP notables of Sindh, did not support the idea of indemnity bond as well.

Balochistan National Party of Sardar Akhter Mengal has also not been feeling comfortable for supporting the Imran government. Many hearts are also burning on the PTI backbenches, for allegedly been “ignored and snubbed by the cronies firmly guarding access to the prime minister.”

The PTI government was thus not wrong to imagine that if the motion of no confidence were to be formally put for the headcount, Qasim Suri would fail to show the support of majority.

The possible success of the motion of no confidence against Suri, although via the secret balloting, would certainly have serious consequences for the Imran Government. It could rather have conveyed that the Prime Minister does not command the “real majority” in the National Assembly of Pakistan. He continues to rule, due to a “managed and coerced majority.”

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accountability” of “the corrupt politicians,” taking turns in the government since 2008, must not appear succumbing to “emotional blackmail.”

The PTI base feels doubly delighted, also for the fact that in spite of staying put in Islamabad with an impressive crowd for two weeks, Maulana Fazlur Rehman eventually opted to fold his dharna, without extracting any assuaging promise from the government.

We were forced to imagine that from now on the PTI government would adopt a firm stance to deal with its opponents. There hardly was any space left to bend and seek the so-called “middle ground.”

At the outset of the National Assembly sitting Friday, however, we received an entirely different message. Senator Azam Swati, the minister of parliamentary affairs, took the floor to break the “good news” that the government had decided to withdraw “laws,” it had passed in bulldozing haste around two weeks ago.

Since taking over on August 8, 2018, the PTI government had been complaining non-stop that the non-government parties were wantonly abusing their majority in the Senate to block the passage and execution of fresh laws, desperately required to furnish good governance in the country.

In sheer frustration, it was thus compelled to introduce laws through Presidential Ordinances. Above and beyond the parliament, the law ministry prepared not one but eleven Ordinances for President Arif Alvi to sign and he took no time to issue them on the first working day of the current month.

A week after its signing the hastily prepared Ordinances, the National Assembly was summoned to meet on Nov 7. At the outset of its proceedings, the government announced the intent of converting those Ordinances into Bills. All of them were later approved in less than two hours, thanks to slavish “Ayes” that kept resonating from the treasury benches.

Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker, had presided the “historic sitting” of November 7. He acted deaf to opposition’s protest and disregarded their presence with arrogant contempt. Hardly a handful of ruling party legislators knew a thing or two regarding the laws, they had passed, gleefully. Disregarding the fact that some of these laws were loaded with long-term consequences.

Pakistan Medical and Dental Council(PMDC), for example, had radically been revamped due to the same laws passed in haste. This Council is considered too lucrative; for, it regulates all businesses related to health and “medical colleges,” established by the private investors.

Another Ordinance-turned-law on Nov 7, aimed at helping the government to acquire land and fix the price of it to fulfill the prime ministerial dream of providing “cheap and affordable” housing, all across the country.

Most people, familiar with legislative nitty-gritty, including the PTI supporters, seriously felt that the manner in which the said laws had been adopted could certainly be questioned in courts. The laws, passed in haste, also smacked of serious “conflict of interests.”

A day after these laws were passed, Khawaja Asif stood in the house to clearly tell the Speaker that the PML-N would soon be approaching the superior courts to challenge the validity of laws, which were passed on November 7. Threatening this, he also announced that the opposition was all set to move a vote of no confidence against the Deputy Speaker.

The opposition has yet not approached the courts to question the validity of laws passed on November 7. But it took no time to post a motion of no confidence against Qasim Suri and we had been waiting for a headcount on it. But in return of announcing the withdrawal of not one but eleven ordinance, the government persuaded the opposition to withdraw the motion of no confidence, submitted against the Deputy Speaker.

In spite of showing its muscles with take-no-prisoners boasts, the PTI government had eventually opted to bend and crawl to the proverbial “middle crowd” for appeasing and pleasing the opposition. The question remains: “Why it opted to bend in spite of pretending hard and tough, of late?”

Most journalists prefer to believe that the government turned ‘soft,” primarily for the fear that it might not be able to protect Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker, when the motion of no confidence against him would eventually be put for “secret balloting.”

Before discussing the issue further, let me reveal that Pakistan Peoples Party, the second largest opposition party in the National Assembly, has not been feeling good and comfortable with the manner “the PML-N has moved against the Deputy Speaker without taking us on board.” The PPP had yet not decided how to vote, if and when the motion of no confidence against Qasim Suri is to be put for the headcount.

With or without being aware of the PPP’s hesitance, the government preferred to protect Qasim Suri by yielding to the opposition by withdrawing ordinances, it had tried to enforce by exclusively relying on its numerical edge in the National Assembly.

That “edge,” however, began to expose its vulnerabilities, of late, essentially due to the tough posturing it had adopted for dealing with the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s going abroad for treatment.

The PML-Q of the crafty Chaudhrys of Gujrat, is one of the important allies of the PTI government. Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, a friends-to-all kind of the former Chief Minister of Punjab, currently holds the office of the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly. Both he and his very experienced cousin, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, had loudly been distancing themselves from the demand that to ensure his departure for treatment abroad, Nawaz Sharif must submit an indemnity bond. Both of them also played a key role in persuading Maulana Fazlur Rehman to fold his dharna of Islamabad.

The MQM, another ally of the government, also opposed the condition of indemnity bond while talking to media and through one of its MNAs in the National Assembly. Grand National Alliance, comprising anti-PPP notables of Sindh, did not support the idea of indemnity bond as well.

Balochistan National Party of Sardar Akhter Mengal has also not been feeling comfortable for supporting the Imran government. Many hearts are also burning on the PTI backbenches, for allegedly been “ignored and snubbed by the cronies firmly guarding access to the prime minister.”

The PTI government was thus not wrong to imagine that if the motion of no confidence were to be formally put for the headcount, Qasim Suri would fail to show the support of majority.

The possible success of the motion of no confidence against Suri, although via the secret balloting, would certainly have serious consequences for the Imran Government. It could rather have conveyed that the Prime Minister does not command the “real majority” in the National Assembly of Pakistan. He continues to rule, due to a “managed and coerced majority.