LAHORE: A no-confidence motion tabled by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi was declined on Sunday due to the absence of the PML-N lawmakers in the provincial assembly session. The session was adjourned till June 6
The session that convened with Panel of Chairperson member Wasim Badozai in the chair, started after much delay, lasted for only 12 minutes and only one point of agenda the no-trust vote, against Elahi was taken up.
As the house took up the session, the PTI members sat on the treasury benches despite losing the slot of the chief executive to PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz last month whereas the PML-N lawmakers were not present in the house owing to a lack of strategy on the issue.
The PML-N faced a setback as the mover of the motion, Samiullah Khan, was not available despite multiple summonses from Badozai who was presiding over the session.
Subsequently, Badozai declined the no-confidence motion against the speaker. “The motion is declined,” he said as he adjourned the session till June 6.
The gates of the buildings were sealed off by the Punjab Police with lawmakers who came to attend the session being locked outside of the assembly. However, after protests by the PML-N and PTI lawmakers, the gates were opened and lawmakers were allowed inside.
Interestingly, it has not been confirmed yet as to who had issued these instructions but the PML-N lawmakers had claimed that these orders were issued by Elahi as only the speaker was the competent authority to make such decisions. The government and the opposition blamed each other for sealing off the assembly. A lawmaker said that whoever issued these orders to seal the assembly, the speaker or the secretary, committed an illegal act.
Pervaiz Elahi accused the chief minister, Hamza Shehbaz, of sealing the assembly and said that Hamza should sit at home as he knows he has lost the majority in the house after the CM decision.
He said the assembly was sealed because Hamza knew that his government had ended in the province. Meanwhile, the lawmakers belonging to the PML-N had accused Elahi of sealing the assembly to create a constitutional crisis in the province that would eventually benefit his party and the PTI.
It is pertinent to note that the government officials, including Assistant Commissioner concerned were barred from entering the Assembly Secretariat as only MPAs are allowed to access the area. However, the media and other officials were allowed to enter the assembly area.
The deployment of the police force on the premises of the house came a day after Elahi changed the date of the session from May 30 to May 22.
Elahi made the decision after the de-seating of the 25 lawmakers of the PTI that had voted for Hamza Shehbaz in the elections for the seat of the Punjab CM.
The probability for Elahi, a joint candidate of the PTI-PML-Q alliance for the CM post, to become the chief minister, especially after the de-seating of dissident MPAs, has considerably increased. However, the PML-N is sure of retaining the top slot of the chief minister.
Earlier in the day, the Punjab police took a high-level official of the Punjab Assembly Secretariat into custody hours ahead of the hurriedly-called session by Elahi. Rai Mumtaz, who is director general of parliamentary affairs of the assembly, was detained after police officials scaled the walls of his residence to make the arrest.
Meanwhile, the police also raided the residences of PA Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti and Coordination Secretary Inayatullah but failed to detain them as both of them were not present at their homes. The police allegedly ransacked their houses as well.
The arrest of the assembly official was condemned by PA Speaker Pervaiz Elahi who said the provincial government led by CM Hamza Shehbaz had resorted to pressure tactics against the Opposition. He alleged the PML-N government was violating the Constitution through such acts, adding that the Sharifs have also been exposed in front of the nation through such actions.
It may be mentioned here that the assembly’s current strength has reduced to 346 members after the de-seating of the 25 MPAs. The PML-N has 165 MPAs of whom five Sharaqpuri group members recently withdrew their support. Besides the backing of its 160 MPAs, the PML-N has seven PPP MPAs, four independents and one Rah-i-Haq Party MPA on its side. It shows PML-N has 172 votes.
On the other hand, Elahi’s PML-Q and his ally PTI have a total strength of 168, but the PTI-PML-Q alliance believes they will get all the five women and minority seats whereas the PML-N claims two reserved seats will come to it. Meanwhile talking to media outside Punjab Assembly
General Secretary Pakl.istan People’s Party Central Punjab and parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza said that speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi should stop political point scoring on Punjab Assembly.
Murtaza said that by changing dates of the session your destiny will not change. “Your defeat is writing on the wall” said Murtaza.
He further said that Pervez Elahi will be remembered as most controversial speaker in the history of Punjab Assembly. Without naming Pervez Elahi he said those who use their powers for personal purposes should not remain on the post. He said their days are numbered.
He claimed that if recounting will be held Hamza Shahbaz will be the next chief minister.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022