The nascent coalition government is under fire from within

• JUI-F pulls up government for challenging Riba’s decision; MQM claims PPP, PML-N are not meeting ‘commitments’
• Gwadar MNA accuses Ehsan Iqbal of ousting his territory from PSDP
• Approval of 83 demands for grants worth Rs 4.57 crore

ISLAMABAD: The cracks in the 11-week-old ruling coalition were clearly visible on Monday after almost all coalition partners expressed displeasure in the National Assembly over the “change in attitude” of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML). -N) accused former Prime Minister Imran Khan of backtracking from the commitments made before the no-confidence motion.

The most aggressive stance was taken by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), one of the main constituents of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition and a major partner of the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party. (PPP) on the opposition benches during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regime.

Federal Communications Minister Asad Mahmood, who belongs to JUI-F, opposed the government’s decision to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Federal Shariat Court’s (FSC) decision in the Riba case.

Complaining that the government had taken the decision without consulting his party, the JUI-F leader indicated that his party may go to the extent of quitting the ruling coalition if the PML-N does not come out with an explanation.

The government and the ministry concerned should clarify whether the banks went to court under their directions, saying: “If they have done it on their own, then who has given them the right to go in appeal against such a decision. And on what grounds? No minister can take a decision alone. You cannot file an appeal without consulting us,” declared Mr Mahmood, son of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

He was speaking on the issue of arrangements when the Assembly was clearing the demands for grants for various ministries and divisions in relation to the Union Budget 2022-23.

“If a ministry wants to fly alone today, it should think and decide about its future. We have decided about our future. We will live our lives according to Islam… and we stay away from such decisions.”

In an veiled threat to agitate against the move, Mahmood asked the government to withdraw the appeal in the Supreme Court and make a clear announcement in this regard.

Another attack on the government was launched from within the coalition by an independent MNA from Gwadar, Aslam Bhutani, who, despite repeated requests, did not include development plans in his constituency in the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) plan. A strong protest was lodged against Minister Ahsan Iqbal. By Asif Zardari of the PPP and even by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

“Then, I requested them [quarters] To ask Ahsan Iqbal from where we usually get telephone calls – if there is still any weight in his calls – and then he reflected on my plan [in the PSDP]Mr. Bhootni said without elaborating on the telephone call. He then expressed regret that the allotted amount would also be released in installments.

Interestingly, Mr. Bhootni praised the previous PTI government, saying it had released billions of rupees and received 100 per cent of the allocated amount, which Mr. Iqbal cut off. He said he was happy to be in the PTI government, but joined the current coalition for the sake of Mr Zardari, who had arranged for the current government to be supported by 58 members.

Khalid Magasi of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) also expressed a similar sentiment, saying that it seems those who were desperate to get their support at the time of the no-confidence vote “did not like our faces anymore”.

Then, Osama Qadri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) took to the fray and alleged that the PML-N and PPP non-implementation of agreements Which was signed with the party at the time of government formation.

read more, Shehbaz mobilizes allies to ‘repair the cracks’

North Waziristan MNA Mohsin Dawar also protested the failure of the authorities to present Ali Wazir in the assembly despite his production order being issued to him.

However, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif defended the PML-N and said that the grievances of Balochistan allies were genuine and added that the government would do everything possible to address the feeling of deprivation among the people of Balochistan.

Earlier, initially, lawmakers denounced the remarks of Canadian MP Tom Kimick, who belongs to the Conservative Party, where he reportedly spoke about regime change in Pakistan and the military’s alleged role in the process.

The lawmakers said the remark tantamounts to “interfering” in Pakistan’s affairs and asked the Canadian government to take cognizance of the matter.

the issue was raised by Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, who alleged that the MP had issued the statement at the behest of some Pakistani expatriates and PTI lobbyists, saying former Prime Minister Imran Khan was involved in “an anti-state campaign outside the country”.

He also highlighted some human rights violations in Canada, saying that from 2017 to 2022, Muslims were targeted and killed in various incidents related to Islamophobia.

Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation Shazia Mari also condemned the statement and said that the regime in Pakistan was democratic and changed according to the constitution.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly unanimously approved 83 demands for grants of Rs 4.57 trillion for 30 ministries and divisions.

Published in Dawn, June 28, 2022