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Election for Punjab CM puts further strain on democracy, fails to break impasse

  • Shujaat helps Hamza inflict shock but controversial defeat on Elahi
  • Deputy Speaker rejects PML-Q’s 10 votes, including Elahi’s
  • PTI-backed Elahi had bagged 186 votes against PML-N candidate Hamza’s 179.
  • The latter retains CM’s position
Published July 23, 2022
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LAHORE: In a shocking result, PML-Q’s PTI-backed candidate Pervez Elahi lost the Punjab chief minister’s election to PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz, after Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari ruled that PML-Q members’ votes will not be counted in the election of Punjab chief minister in light of party head Chaudhry Shujaat’s letter.

According to Mazari, Hamza received 179 votes whereas Elahi garnered 176 votes, but only after 10 votes of Elahi’s own party were not counted, which turned the tables in Hamza’s favour.

While announcing the result, Mazari read Shujaat’s letter out loudly. “As party head of Pakistan Muslim League, I have issued directions to all my provincial members to cast their votes in favour of Muhammad Hamza Shehbaz Sharif,” Mazari quoted Hussain as saying.

“As per this letter, according to the ruling of the Supreme Court, all the 10 votes cast by PML-Q leaders have been rejected,” Mazari ruled.

In major upset to PTI, deputy speaker rejects PML-Q’s votes as Hamza retains Punjab CM position

Hafiz Ammar Yasir, Shuja Nawaz, Muhammad Abdullah Warraich, Pervez Elahi, Muhammad Rizwan, Sajjad Sajid Ahmed Khan, Ehsanullah Chaudhry, Muhammad Afzal, Bismah Chaudhry, and Khadija Umar were the 10 members whose votes were not counted.

The deputy speaker’s ruling was countered by PTI MPA Raja Basharat, who argued that as per the law, the parliamentary party is authorised to issue instructions to party members.

“The head of the parliamentary party is Pervez Elahi,” he contended. However, Mazari maintained that the matter had been clarified by the Supreme Court, subsequently proroguing the session.

While the voting was underway inside the House, unconfirmed reports were circulating outside that PML-Q Chairperson Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had written a letter distancing himself from Elahi’s candidacy.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, back in May, had ruled the votes of dissident members of the Parliament (MPs), cast against their parliamentary party’s directives, cannot be counted.

The apex court, issuing its verdict on the presidential reference seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution related to defecting lawmakers of the PTI, said that the law cannot be interpreted in isolation.

‘Join us,’ Zardari asks PTI candidate Elahi

Earlier, at the beginning of the session, PML-N objected to the presence of PTI candidates Zain Qureshi and Shabbir Gujjar in the assembly and said that since Zain had not resigned from the membership of the National Assembly, he was not eligible to vote in the provincial assembly.

Meanwhile, the party added that since there was a case pending against Gujjar with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he cannot cast his vote either.

However, PTI leader Raja Basharat, in Gujjar’s defence, said that the ECP had sent a notification in this regard and according to that, Gujjar is eligible to cast his vote.

Following that, Mazari rejected PML-N’s objections and said that both PTI candidates could cast their votes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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