Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced on Friday that he will tomorrow take on the additional charge of the Justice Ministry following the resignation of lawyer Farogh Naseem earlier this week.
Naseem had resigned as justice minister on Wednesday after his party, the Muttahida Qaumi-Pakistan Movement (MQM-P), split from the PTI-led coalition government and threw its weight behind the opposition before a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister. Imran Khan.
Along with Naseem, Aminul Haque of the MQM-P had also resigned from his post as Federal Minister of Information Technologies and Telecommunications.
With seven seats in the National Assembly, the MQM-P decision will see Prime Minister Imran lose his majority in the lower house if the situation remains the same until Sunday, when the vote on the no-confidence motion should take place.
Speaking to the media alongside Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Communication Shahbaz Gill in Islamabad today, Chaudhry said that after taking office as Minister of Justice, he would address the court to cancel the release on bail of the president of the PML-N Shehbaz. Sharif, who would be the candidate for the prime minister’s seat if the joint opposition’s no-confidence decision against the incumbent prime minister is successful.
“I’m amazed that a person on bail is saying they’re a candidate for prime minister,” he said.
Chaudhry added that he would also work to initiate proceedings for the cancellation of bail for Shehbaz’s son, Hamza Shehbaz.
The Minister indicated that the court would be seized for this purpose tomorrow.
He added that further action would be taken against PTI lawmakers who had defected to the opposition.
“The legal team met today and strategized, and I expect we will contact the Supreme Court about this tomorrow,” he told the media, adding that the court Supreme Court would be invited to consider the matter in the light of Article 184 of the Constitution.
He continued: “We want the Supreme Court to consider how it is possible that a motion of no confidence, which was drafted overseas, would awaken the consciences of 22 people overnight. [who are PTI defectors].”
Speaking about the no confidence motion, Chaudhry said there are still 48 hours left before the vote, implying that a lot could happen in that time frame. He said he was confident that Prime Minister Imran would remain prime minister.
He added that the people of Pakistan would not allow orchestrated regime change from a foreign capital after “spending a few million dollars here”.
Chaudhry equated the opposition’s refusal to attend the National Security Committee meeting – where a document claimed to contain evidence of a foreign plot to overthrow Prime Minister Imran’s government – with their knowledge of the “conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Prime Minister.
“And it also shows that the opposition leaders are also involved in this plot,” he added.
He further said that PML-N leaders namely Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi insisted that the United States can solve Pakistan’s economic problems.
“They said that the United States had attached [IV] drops in Pakistan and asked what would happen if those drops were detached,” Chaudhry said, adding that it was better for those ‘drops’ to be detached.
“The nation of Pakistan is an honorable nation and it is its misfortune that people like you [PML-N leaders] were imposed on them from outside [forces]”, he said. “People are aware of this conspiracy and oppose it.”
Chaudhry then claimed that protests had taken place across Pakistan “against people with no conscience”, referring to dissident PTI lawmakers, who sided with the opposition in the vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
“I salute those who protest [against the defectors]. You are our heroes,” he said.
Energy Minister Hammad Azhar claimed that efforts were being made to form a “foreign puppet government” in Pakistan.
“I want to assure my nation that we will not let this happen,” he said.
Azhar went on to say that historically, “alien puppet installation experiments” had failed every time and would fail this time as well.
He said Pakistan and the country’s economy could not afford another term from any of the opposition parties to the government.
Azhar said the formal process of removing Pakistan from the Financial Action Task Force list was to begin in June.
To a question, he clarified that there would be no change in gasoline and electricity prices in the coming days.
In response to another question, Chaudhry expressed confidence that Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Pervaiz Elahi would be elected chief minister of Punjab tomorrow.