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Pakistan

Elahi gets vote of confidence in chaotic Punjab Assembly session

  • Trust motion in favour of CM Elahi receives 186 votes, announces Speaker Sibtain Khan
Published January 11, 2023 Updated January 12, 2023

Chief Minister (CM) Parvez Elahi took the vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly (PA) in the wee hours of Thursday amid a ruckus from the opposition which later announced the boycott of the session.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan, who presided over the session, declared that the trust motion in favour of CM Elahi received 186 votes.

The voting process proves that Chief Minister Elahi has the confidence of a majority of the lawmakers of the provincial assembly.

“Alhumdulillah, 186 [completed]. Long live Pakistan,” tweeted PTI leader Asad Umar as soon as the voting process was completed.

Earlier, Speaker Sibtain Khan convened a new session shortly after midnight with a vote of confidence on the agenda.

As the session resumed, the speaker ordered bells to be rung for five minutes, following which the assembly hall and lobby were closed for new entrants.

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat then tabled the resolution of the trust vote on CM Punjab.

The opposition MPAs gathered around the speaker’s dais and tore agenda copies in a bid to sabotage the process. However, the speaker asked the secretary PA to initiate the counting process.

The speaker also summoned a special security force in the house to deal with any untoward situation.

With defeat imminent, the opposition then announced the boycott of the session proceedings and walked out of the house.

Earlier, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi arrived at the Punjab Assembly late on Wednesday amid reports that he would seek a vote of confidence from the house tonight during the ongoing session.

The development came after PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the government alliance in Punjab had the support of 187 lawmakers for CM Parvez Elahi’s vote of confidence.

“Alhamdulillah, the [required] number of 187 has been achieved,” Fawad tweeted.

Elahi needed the support of at least 186 Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs) to prove his majority in the house.

On Wednesday, the session started with a delay of two hours amid a ruckus in the provincial assembly for the third consecutive day with opposition lawmakers – led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) - chanting slogans against CM Elahi, urging him to take a vote of confidence. They also tore agenda copies and vowed not to let the session progress until their demand was met.

Establishment doesn’t appear to be neutral in Elahi’s vote of confidence: Imran Khan

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat presented audit reports of the departments amid the opposition’s continuous sloganeering.

At the outset of the session, PPP MPA Syed Usman Mehmood said that the “minority government” was requested to take a confidence vote and then a period for questions could be held as well.

PML-N lawmaker Raheela Khadim Hussain refused to speak during the question and answers session and instead requested that the confidence vote be taken first.

The PA speaker said that the government would take a confidence vote but first the Lahore High Court should be allowed to make the final decision tomorrow.

He said the government could not remain in power if it did not take a confidence vote and told the opposition to bring a no-confidence motion to settle the matter.

Meanwhile, PTI MPA Sardar Shahabuddin Khan lashed out at the opposition for causing a ruckus and said it had nothing to do with assembly proceedings.

The PA speaker concurred and noted that the lawmakers who do not allow the assembly business to continue should be suspended.

Earlier on Tuesday, PML-N lawmakers stormed the Punjab Assembly and clashed with the police as the controversy around a vote of confidence for Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi continued.

The unrest came after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah stated that Elahi and provincial Speaker Sibtain Khan had asked the police not to let opposition members enter the premises.

The doors of the assembly were closed and security guards remained on high alert after there was a commotion on Monday during which the opposition challenged the provincial chief minister to prove that he has the requisite numbers to win a vote of confidence.

On December 19, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) submitted a no-confidence motion against Elahi, two days after PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will dissolve their assemblies on December 23.

On Monday, former finance minister and PTI leader Asad Umar said that the party had the required numbers for Chief Minister Parvez Elahi’s vote of confidence.

“You all witnessed that the government proved its strength in today’s session of the Punjab Assembly. We will not require the opposition’s votes to prove our majority in the house,” Asad Umar said while speaking to media outside the provincial assembly.

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