Elahi evading no-trust motion

Keeps delaying PA session pinning hopes on ECP’s decision on PTI dissidents

Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is deliberately delaying the assembly session in the hope of getting favourable results from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding the references filed against PTI’s dissident MPAs, Minute Mirror has learnt.

Elahi is repeatedly delaying the session of the Punjab Assembly by using his discretionary powers as Speaker to prevent voting on the no-trust motion filed against him by the MPAs of PML-N.

The no-confidence motion against Elahi was moved in Punjab Assembly on April 8 when the PML-N was in the opposition and Elahi’s PML-Q was the coalition partner of then ruling party PTI. As per the rules, the voting on the no-trust motion against the Speaker is supposed to be held in seven days but it is still pending as Elahi is reluctant to convene the assembly session.

It is pertinent to mention here that Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari is also facing a no-trust motion filed by the MPAs of PTI and PML-Q just a day before the motion against the Speaker but again no voting could be held against him. When the assembly session was scheduled for April 28, the voting on the no-trust motion against Mazari was there on the agenda item.

But, Speaker Elahi rescheduled the session for May 16 minutes before the sitting of the House that day without citing any reason.

Later, he told the media that the session was rescheduled as the officers of the Punjab Assembly were arrested by the police hours before the session. Police had detained the Secretary Coordination of Punjab Assembly Anayat Ullah Lak that day under the 3-MPO.

Now, once again, Elahi postponed the session for May 30 without citing any reason.

Elahi was the joint candidate of PTI and PML-Q for the slot of Chief Minister Punjab but lost the election to Hamza Shehbaz, who got 197 votes with the support of PTI dissidents. After losing the election of CM, he hasn’t convened the session of Punjab Assembly fearing that he may also lose the Speakership if the voting is held as the PML-N has the required numbers to oust him with the support of its allies. For the same reasons, Elahi is reluctant to take charge as Acting Governor as Deputy Speaker Mazari will assume the office of Speaker if Elahi moves to Governor’s House and may go for voting on the no-trust motion against the latter in his absence.

In this whole scenario, Elahi is eagerly waiting for the outcome of references filed against PTI dissidents in the ECP for violating the party policy in the election of CM Punjab. Elahi, being the Speaker, had moved a reference against 26 MPAs of PTI in the ECP for violating the party policy.

The deviant MPAs named in the reference include Abdul Aleem Khan, Raja Sageer Ahmad, Ghulam Rasool, Saeed Akbar Niwani, Ajmal Cheema, Faisal Hayat Japwana, Mehar Aslam Bharwana, Khalid Mehmood, Nazeer Chohan, Nauman Langrial, Ameen Zulqarnain, Muhammad Salman, Zawar Hussian, Nazeer Ahmed, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Ayesha Nawaz, Sajida Yusuf, Haroon Imran Gill, Malik Asad Khokhar, Ijaz Masih, Muhammad Tahir, Uzma Kardar, Sibtain Raza, Javeed Akhtar and Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa.

The references were filed on April 20 and the PTI is seeking their disqualification while urging the ECP to decide their fate within a month. It is the last option left for Elahi. If 26 MPAs are de-seated by the ECP, then Hamza will lose majority in the House and may be asked to seek the vote of confidence which will be very difficult for him to win. It seems that the intervention of the Lahore High Court will be sought once again for convening the assembly session if ECP remains indecisive over the matter.

In the meantime, Speaker Elahi on Sunday condemned the police raids on the staff of the Punjab Assembly. He said that the rulers should refrain from such tactics and not retaliate against the assembly officers and staff. He said that the vengeful faces of Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz are coming to the fore which the people had forgotten. According to the Punjab Assembly Spokesperson, a heavy contingent of Punjab Police was deployed outside the house of Secretary Punjab Assembly Muhammad Khan Bhatti.

Police arrested Shahbaz Ahmed, a Grade 17 research officer, along with two other junior security assistants, Ali Zeeshan and Ghulam Murtaza.