LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shehbaz has retained the post of the Punjab chief minister by securing majority of votes in the runoff election.
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi secured 186 votes, but the deputy speaker refused to count the 10 votes cast by the Pakistan Muslim League-Q MPAs, citing Article 63 (1) (A) of the Constitution of Pakistan after PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat directed his party leaders to cast their votes in favour of Hamza.
After the deputy speaker’s refusal of counting PML-Q MPAs’ votes, the parliamentary strength of the opposition alliance was reduced to 176.
Hamza secured 179 while Elahi bagged 176 votes.
The voting to elect the new chief minister of Punjab started after a delay of almost three hours.
The session was presided by Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari which started with the recitation of the Quran.
Earlier, the lawmakers reached the Punjab Assembly in buses for the crucial assembly session to elect a new chief minister for the province. The session was scheduled to start at 4=pm, however, it got delayed.
Opposition candidate Pervaiz Elahi and the government candidate, Hamza Shehbaz, would once again contest for the CM slot. But this time the tally is in favour of the PML-Q leader after the PTI won 15 seats in the recently-held Punjab by-elections.
Meanwhile, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari held a meeting with PML-Q President Shujaat Hussain to win his party’s support for Hamza Shahbaz as the PML-Q has 10 MPAs in the Punjab Assembly and is in a position to tilt the balance of power either way.
Zardari managed to win Shujaat’s support for Hamza in the voting to elect the chief minister of Punjab as Shujaat refused to support PTI-backed candidate.
Earlier the Punjab Assembly Secretariat announced that there would be a ban on carrying mobile phones in the House.
“There will be a complete ban on the entry of guests of MPAs and the assembly staff,” said the notification, a copy of which is available with Aaj News, issued by assembly secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti. “Speaker box, officer box and guests gallery will be closed.”
The secretariat has urged the MPAs to bring the identity card issued by the assembly with them.
“Entry into the assembly secretariat will be through a gate at the duty-free shop. Police will control the administrative matters outside the secretariat. Media to cover election through press gallery,” it said.
- More than 1,400 police personnel were deployed
- PML-N, PPP parliamentary party meeting summoned
- PTI, PML-Q also convened a party meeting
- PTI MPAs reach assembly in six buses
- PTI had directed members to vote for Pervaiz or else they would be de-seated
- The PTI leaders have decided to go to the assembly in groups in order to avert any apparent attempt from the government to stop them
- PTI’s Ali Amin Gandapur entered the assembly with a group of people
- PML-N leaders arrive in the assembly house
Hamza was hopeful of the election results.
Faisal Shahkar replaces Rao Sardar as Punjab IG
Faisal Shahkar was appointed Punjab inspector general after Rao Sardar excused himself from further working in the capacity, said a notification.
“It will be difficult for me to work if Pervaiz Elahi is elected as the CM,” Sardar said in his request. “He [Pervaiz] is without any reason criticising and angry at police. I did all work on merit, however, I don’t want any new issue to arise.”
The development comes amidst an apparent change in the provincial government. Sardar had requested Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to transfer him to the federal government.
Moments later, approval for the transfer of Sardar was taken through a circulation summary from the federal cabinet. He has now been appointed as the inspector general for railways.
PTI’s vote count can be more than 186: Umar
Overall, PTI has 186 votes and it can be more than that, PTI leader Asad Umar told reporters outside the assembly.
“This system, in which dollar is freefalling, cannot sustain for long,” he said. “This system has to fall.”
The PTI leader said the chief minister will have all the rights in matters pertaining to the province.
He claimed Pervaiz’s election would prompt other political parties in the federal government to shout for new mandate.
Imran Khan wants to create instability: Marriyum
Former prime minister Imran Khan wanted to create economic instability through political instability in the country, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a series of tweets.
“Pakistan cannot afford thefts by Imran, Bushra Gogi mafias and cartels,” she said. “On April 3, Imran Khan left power, the days of abuse and threats are over. Relax, keep your mouth shut and let them do the work.”
She claimed people have rejected the PTI chief’s politics. Marriyum raised questions on the “electoral framework of PTI” that was used in 2018.
Zardari has mentally accepted defeat: Chohan
PTI leader Fayazul Hassan Chohan said any attempt to disturb the law and order would be akin to contempt of court.
“[Former president] Asif Ali Zardari has mentally accepted the defeat in today [Friday’s election],” he said outside the hotel where the PTI leaders are staying. “But, he [Zardari] was interested in some commitments.”
He was speaking during Zardari’s hours-long meeting with the PML-Q leader, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
“He [Zardari] asked Chaudhry Shujaat, being party president, to issue a letter saying the party was not with Parvez. By this, he wanted to have a ruling from Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari.”
Earlier in the day, Pervez approached the Supreme Court against deployment of police in the assembly hall. In his petition, the PML-Q leader maintained that Hamza was not ready to accept defeat and opted for unconstitutional measures after losing the majority in the assembly.
PTI’s Abida Raja offered ‘money’ to change loyalty
PTI MPA Abida Raja has alleged she was offered Rs250 million to change her loyalty, however, she refused it.
“Money is not important for honour,” she told Aaj News. The MPA was of the view that accepting such an offer would bring shame to her family.
Abida did not present any proof to her claim like other political leaders, who have claimed to have received offers.
Last night, numbers were complete: Rashid
“Last night, the numbers were complete. Now God knows,” Sheikh Rashid, Awami Muslim League leader, said on Aaj News morning show. “The situation will be clear.”
He was responding to a query on the Punjab chief minister election and PTI chief Imran Khan warned that the country would head towards Sri Lanka-like situation if something undemocratic was done during the provincial assembly session.
He prayed the country may lead towards development and the economy stabilises.
“I am hopeful that Pervez Elahi will win,” said Rashid, who is known for his political prophecies. He alleged that assembly members were “up for sale” for reaching the required number.
The PTI went into by-elections three months after former prime minister Imran Khan’s government was sent packing by a vote of no-confidence in April 10 National Assembly session. The PTI has decided to give party tickets to loyal members not defectors in the next elections.
“I hope that it [horse-trading] won’t happen,” he said. “But the amount is so big… that such an amount is being given in a day.”
Rashid was of the view that people who sell their loyalties face a “social boycott” and become notorious.
He expressed his hope that the party would have 186 members, required for making the new chief minister, and PTI would win.
Pervaiz asks govt to abide by SC orders
Pervaiz, who is the joint candidate of PTI and the PML-Q, said the government should abide by the orders of the Supreme Court otherwise the law would take its course.
“Every conspiracy to sabotage the Punjab CM election will be stopped,” Pervaiz said, after presiding over the party’s parliamentary meeting on Thursday.
The statement came as former president Asif Ali Zardari called on PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in a last ditch effort to seek his support for the election of the head of the country’s most powerful province. The meeting reportedly lasted for almost four hours.
Sources told Aaj News Shujaat could not assure Zardari of his support in the election. The PML-Q leader had earlier said “those who won the mandate have the right to rule”.
Votes of 186 MPAs – in the 371-seat Punjab Assembly – are needed for the simple majority, which is required to become Punjab’s chief minister, according to House rules.
Results of the Punjab by-election has strengthened Elahi’s position as PTI has now 177 seats after winning 15 seats. The addition of PML-Q’s 10 seats brings the total vote count to 186.
The departure of PTI lawmaker Masood Majeed, who went to Turkey, has depleted the count by one. A PTI supporter shared a video of 187 members of the party who were gathered at a hotel in Lahore. Aaj News couldn’t independently verify the claim.
Hamza’s vote count currently stands at 179, with the support of PML-N (168), PPP (seven), Independents (three), and one member of the Rah-e-Haq Party.
Both sides of the aisle in the Parliament have made allegations of horse-trading ahead of the CM election.
How did all this start?
Punjab’s political crisis, which is also impacting the rupee’s freefall against the dollar, started after the vote of no-confidence against the then premier, Imran Khan.
PTI wanted to make Elahi the chief minister of the province. However, its dissident lawmakers thwarted this move by voting in favour of Hamza on April 16.
Hamza, the son of PM Shehbaz Sharif, was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30.
Then, the Election Commission of Pakistan gave its decision on the PTI’s plea on party dissidents. The country’s top electoral authority de-seated 25 dissident MPAs of the PTI who voted for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister on May 20, stating they had defected from the party.
It led to by-elections on 20 seats in Punjab. The PTI grabbed most of the seats in the election contrary to the PML-N’s expectations, prompting the government to overhaul its election strategy.