“Imran Khan has said on national media that his party members have sold their votes. Imran Khan used to say that in the past they had sacked 20 members from the party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If he still stands by his words and if he is speaking the truth then I challenge him to tell the names of those MNAs and remove them from the parliament,” said Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari while talking to reporters after his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) vice-president Maryam Nawaz along with a party delegation, hours after the prime minister’s address to the nation.

Earlier, Ms Nawaz had attended a meeting of the general council of her party which was also addressed by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif through video link from London, in which he once again delivered a hard-hitting speech and accused the “undemocratic forces” and “violators of the constitution” of “imposing an inexperienced and incompetent person on the nation” through fraudulent elections in 2018.

During the news conference with Mr Bhutto-Zardari, Ms Nawaz said that on one hand the prime minister was dubbing his party members as corrupt and thieves while on the other he was planning to seek a vote of confidence from the same members.

“With what face will you (PM) seek vote of confidence from those who, according to you, are available for sale,” she said.

Ms Nawaz said she had not heard the prime minister’s speech but people had told her that it was a speech by a “defeated person.” She said after his rejection by the members of his own party and “humiliating defeats” in the by-elections, the prime minister was fuming with anger and his state of mind was understandable.

Replying to a question about the prime minister’s criticism of the Election Commission of Pakistan, she said it was the same ECP which had been protecting the ruling party in the foreign funding case.

Asked what action the opposition parties had taken against their members who had ditched them during the vote of no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani last year, the PPP chairman said like Mr Khan, they had never called their members “thieves”. However, they formed a committee and taken action over it.

Mr Bhutto Zardari said the PDM would soon decide about the place and timing for moving a no-confidence motion against the prime minister and claimed that at that time more members sitting on the treasury benches would support them. He said they had defeated a “puppet government” and the whole nation was celebrating the victory of Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in the Senate election.

Earlier, speaking at a news conference at Zardari House, the PPP chairman said that now the PDM would call the shots not Imran Khan who had lost confidence of his own members of the National Assembly. He said the democratic forces would now contest against this “selected and puppet government” for the Senate chairman office.

He said after the Senate defeat, the entire government addressed a press conference. He recalled that Imran Khan had once said that he would dissolve the government if the opposition won the Senate seat from Islamabad.

“Now he (PM) should have at least announced his own resignation,” he said.

The PPP chairman said Imran Khan now once again wanted to stage a drama in the next two days.

Responding to a question, he said they were in contact with their allies and Mr Gilani would be their candidate for the position of the Senate chairman.

He refuted the charge that the PPP had used money in the Senate poll and said Imran Khan had promised Rs500 million to every MNA of his party, adding that no one could compete the state in using money in elections.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said every institution would have to remain within its own domain and the PPP had been struggling for it for the last three generations.

He said the “beginning of the end” had started for the government and it was “too late” for anyone to try to save the government now.

“Now this puppet show won’t continue, now this drama won’t continue,” he said.

He said Mr Gilani’s win had shown the world that the prime minister had lost the confidence of the National Assembly.