Pakistani premier survives no-trust move (LEAD)

Islamabad, Aug 29 (DPA) Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Tuesday survived a no-confidence move in the country's federal legislature, the National Assembly.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | 11:42:42 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Islamabad, Aug 29 (DPA) Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Tuesday survived a no-confidence move in the country's federal legislature, the National Assembly.

A motion moved by the combined parliamentary opposition expressing distrust in the prime minister for alleged corruption and irregularities by his government, could secure only 136 votes in favour in the 342-member house.

National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussein announced the results amid thumping of desks by the ruling party members.

'There were only 136 votes registered in favour of the resolution, and therefore, it has not been passed,' he said.

It was the second time in Pakistani parliamentary history that a no-confidence motion was moved against a sitting prime minister. Benazir Bhutto had survived such a resolution in 1989.

The opposition required at least 172 votes to avoid the defeat. But it looked impossible from the beginning as the ruling party enjoys the strength of 201 members in the assembly as against opposition's 141.

The combined parliamentary opposition, which comprises the six-party religio-political conglomerate, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and other smaller groups, had submitted the motion Aug 23.

The resolution also contained a 500-page 'charge sheet' highlighting alleged corruption and irregularities of the Aziz-led Pakistan Muslim League government.

'The no-trust move was, in fact, a conspiracy against the people and democratic institutions in the country,' Banker-turned-politician Aziz told the lower house while responding to allegations levelled by the opposition against him.

He said every decision of his government was motivated by 'supreme national interests.'

'The motion was moved by those who looted the national kitty, made Pakistan financially bankrupt and settled abroad later on,' he said in a veiled reference to former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who are living in London.

Opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who earlier initiated debate on the motion, flayed the government for allegedly promoting corrupt practices and weakening democracy through various actions.

MMA chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad criticised the continued military operation in the country's tribal regions areas and Balochistan in the name of war on terror.

The no-confidence motion came three days after the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti during a military operation in the hilly Kohlu district of Balochistan.

The military operation dominated the debate with a majority of the opposition members condemning the action and describing it as a fatal blow to democracy in the country.

Copyright : DPA
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