On their part, Sharif’s were extremely cautious. They would not initiate any move until all other parties had spelt out their position or declared their cards. For a successful vote, all the groups sitting on the opposition benches had to be one voice. Yet even after dislodging Gillani, they could not find the next Prime Minister. The President, thus, would have no option but to dissolve the National Assembly. Resultantly, all executive powers would shift to the Presidency until the next general election and that is quite undesirable for his opponents. The Prime Minister lately has clarified that he is not the actual target but has become the target only because he is protecting the President (or words to that effect). His bottom-line was that no harm can come to the President “as long as I am there”. If that is the case, the Prime Minister has definitely bought a new lease for the President by his telephonic ambush of no-confidence move against himself. The movers of no-confidence will take their time to gather confidence for playing the next round of the game.
The decision of Altaf Hussain to keep his two men out of the Cabinet Room indicates he is back to the treasury temporarily and would be available for the next round of the game as and when it starts.
When a supporter of the Prime Minister crosses the floor, the Constitution considers it an expression of no-confidence in the Prime Minister. In 1973, the Prime Minister just could not do anything about such a deserter. However a new Article 63A was inserted to check such defection. Now a defector is penalized within days but the 25 MNAs of MQM are somehow immune to any such penalty. How can their loyalty now be trusted by the Constitution although the Prime Minister may be worried least about it. The fact is that with their defection from the Coalition, the Prime Minister lost the confidence of the majority of total membership of the National Assembly.
Taking full advantage of their separate political identity they pulled the carpet from under the feet of the Prime Minister but when he didn’t fall, they came back to the same carpet to stand by the same person.
The Constitution expects the President to keep a close watch of the confidence the Prime Minister enjoys in the National Assembly and in case of doubt he shall ask the Prime Minister to obtain a vote of confidence. That did not happen and the ball was apparently thrown to the other side to move a resolution of no-confidence.
It would be most appropriate for the President to ask the Prime minister to obtain a vote of confidence now so that the nation knows where things stand on the floor of the National Assembly. If the MQM is factually and honestly rejoined the ruling side, it ought to vote for the Prime Minister. That Party can’t be allowed to make a new decision on every new bill before the Parliament.