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LAHORE: Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s return is not conditional.

While talking to the reporters outside the Punjab Assembly, Asif said that the party will be strengthened with the appointment of Maryam Nawaz Sharif as senior vice president and chief organizer of the party. “I will not cross any red line on judicial matters,” said Khawaja Asif

He said elections will be held on time. He questioned that if the government has the numbers why Punjab government is not taking the vote of confidence. To a question, he said he had no knowledge of the ‘power-sharing formula’. After the 18th amendment it is the responsibility of the provincial governments to provide wheat flour to the people. He claimed that the government in Punjab will be changed soon.

However, Federal Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Malik Ahmed while talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly said that the constitution of Pakistan gives the Governor a clear authority to ask the Chief Minister for a vote of confidence. The Governor asked the Chief Minister to take a vote of confidence.

On the issue of vote of confidence, the Chief Minister did what the Deputy Speaker did on the issue of Imran Khan. This process was reversed. According to our reports, the Chief Minister does not have numbers.

They said we will monitor the process of vote of confidence, adding that we will not allow anybody to create hurdles in the process. They further said we are the largest party in the Punjab Assembly. According to our information, the government no longer enjoys the majority in the House.

PML-N central leaders said that Imran Khan is getting the real benefit from this whole game. They said that PTI has a government in two provinces. He is also enjoying the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. We have to sit and talk with each other only then the solution will come out.

However, Parliamentary leader of Pakistan People’s Party and General Secretary Syed Hassan Murtaza said there is a clear difference on the issue of the Chief Minister’s vote of confidence in the coalition partners. Imran Khan wants to dissolve the assembly while chief minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi does not want the assembly to be dissolved. On the basis of this difference, Pervez Elahi is not taking the vote of confidence.

Earlier, Punjab Assembly on Monday witnessed ruckus after treasury and opposition benches raised slogans against each other as the politically divided house met amid the political crisis over the dissolution of assembly debate.

PML-N senior leaders including Rana Sanaullah and Attaullah Tarar reached the assembly to attend the session.

Prior to the session, the major political opposition parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and treasury party - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) - held meetings to deliberate on the ongoing political situation.

As it commenced, the proceeding was marred by sloganeering by opposition lawmakers. In response, the treasury benches did the same.

The opposition MPAs tore up agenda copies.

The political tussle in the Punjab has deepened as the Punjab Chief Minister still hasn’t taken the vote of confidence from the assembly. The hearing of his de-notification case is due on January 11 in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Amidst, opposition protest government passed Punjab Public Defender Service Punjab Bill 2023, Attock University Bill 2023, introduced in the House for approval by Raja Basharat. Speaker Punjab Assembly sent the Attock University Bill 2023 to the Special Committee for further consideration. The House also approved Food Authority (Amendment Bill) 2023, The Punjab Alternative Dispute Resolution (Amendment Bill) 2023, The Punjab Undesirable Cooperative Society (Dissolution) Amendment Bill 2023 by majority vote.

The House reconsider and passed Public Sector Universities (Amendment) Bill 2022. The bill was rejected by the Governor of Punjab and sent back to the House.

The House also passed Punjab Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority Amendment Bill 2019, Social Security Amendment Bill 2021 and Domestic Workers Punjab Bill 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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