Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has allegedly suspended the membership of 10 Members of Punjab Assembly (MPAs) hailing from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the suspension will be announced on the day of voting to elect the Punjab Chief Minister.
Some reliable sources from Punjab Assembly Secretariat told Minute Mirror that the membership of 10 MPAs has been suspended for damaging the property and furniture of the house.
The decision would be formally announced on the day of voting to give minimum time to MPAs to approach the Lahore High Court regarding the restoration of their membership, sources informed.
The speaker, who is also the ruling party’s candidate for the slot of CM Punjab, conducted the proceedings secretly against the senior leaders of the PML-N, said the sources in the PA Secretariat. They said that the decision about suspension of the ten leaders of the PML-N was made on the recommendation of a committee which was investigating the matter.
An official picture of the damaged assembly furniture was also issued a few days back by the office of Punjab Assembly speaker. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have alleged that the MPAs of PML-N were involved in damaging the assembly property during the last proceeding of the house.
The memberships of former deputy speaker Rana Mashhood, Khawaja Imran Nazir, Sumera Komal, Azma Bukhari, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Zaib-un-Nisa Awan, Rana Liaqat, Saba Sadiq, Rahila Khadim Hussain and Tariq Masih Gill will be suspended, according to the sources.
The sources said that the first letter of suspension was prepared on April 6 and the second letter was made on April 7 after the ‘scuffle’ which caused damage to the furniture on the premises of the assembly.
“All these MPAs whose memberships have been suspended will be barred from entering into the house on the Election Day and it will be a ‘surprise’ prepared by the PTI and PML-Q jointly,” the sources said.
The move is meant to deny the right to vote to some of the PML-N MPAs while Speaker Elahi is also preparing a ‘surprise’ for the PTI dissidents. The government is planning not to count the vote of PTI dissidents for being in violation of Article 63-A, which according to the PTI bars a lawmaker to give vote against the party policy.
Around two dozen references were already in the office of Speaker Elahi against the PTI dissidents who are supporting the opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz. The report of suspending the MPAs was however denied by the Punjab Assembly spokesperson.
Speaking to media outside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday, Feyyaz Chohan, current spokesperson to Elahi, also confirmed that MPAs had been suspended for damaging the assembly property.
“It is the prerogative of the speaker to suspend the MPAs if someone is involved in such kind of things,” Chohan said. However, in the same presser, he contradicted his earlier statement and said that no one was suspended yet as conveyed to him by the staff of the speaker.
Deputy secretary general of PML-N, Atta ullah Tarar, said that no one could stop the MPAs to cast their votes and it was now clear that the memberships of MPAs could not be suspended after the ruling of the Lahore High Court.
“We hope that the speaker will not create hindrance in the smooth process of election and will not use his office to influence the voting,” Tarar said. He also said that media should be allowed to cover the proceedings to ensure the transparency of the process.
“The officials of FAFEN and PILDAT should be allowed to sit in the Press Gallery to observe the voting process,” he said, while adding that the elections would not be held if MPAs were suspended. He also demanded that Elahi should release the footage of the scuffle between MPAs that caused damage to the furniture.
In the House of 371, 186 MPAs are required to elect the CM Punjab and the opposition claims that it has the support of 202 members.