Hamza Shehbaz, the joint opposition’s candidate for Punjab’s chief ministership, got elected after securing 197 votes in the session marred by pandemonium and scuffling.
When the session began, the lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were carrying ‘lotas’ and chanted slogans against party dissidents including Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari. Some of the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) MPAs were seen throwing ‘lotas’ at the speaker’s dais at the behest of senior party lawmakers who were sitting in the front row.
The situation worsened when Mazari came to the house to chair the session for the election of chief minister of Punjab under Article 130 of the constitution and on the direction of Lahore High Court.
As Mazari reached the speaker’s dais, the MPAs of PTI and PML-Q started throwing ‘lotas’ towards him. Just in a few seconds, these MPAs reached the speaker’s podium and launched a severe attack on Mazari.
The deputy speaker was manhandled and thrashed by the PTI MPAs when he sat at his chair. The security of Punjab Assembly showed least resistance and the staff of deputy speaker tried to rescue him when MPAs were beating him.
Mazari was seen helpless as he was attacked by around a dozen MPAs. The staff of the deputy speaker finally managed to rescue him from the assault and he was taken to his chamber.
No one from the PML-N came to rescue Mazari as they kept seated on the opposition benches. As the deputy speaker was rescued, the MPAs of PTI threw his chair on the floor while capturing his podium.
The MPAs who were seen thrashing the deputy speaker included Umar Tanveer Butt, Wasiq Qayum Abbasi, Shujat Nawaz, Ijaz Khan Jazi, Rana Shehbaz and Nadeem Qureshi. As the deputy speaker left, they tore his official files and documents into pieces while throwing them in the air.
The speaker’s dais was then captured by the woman MPAs of PTI including Sadia Sohail Rana, Seemabia Tahir and Momina Waheed who kept chanting slogans against Mazari for hours. Some attempts were then made to vacate the speaker’s dais but the woman MPAs of PTI refused to go to their seats and kept the podium ‘hostage’ for hours. During this entire episode, Parvez Elahi was seen holding discussions with Usman Buzdar and some other former senior ministers while Hamza couldn’t be seen in the house as he was outside at the lobby.
The deputy speaker then chaired a meeting at his chamber and said that he had to obey the direction of LHC to conduct the election of CM Punjab. He wrote a letter to both the chief secretary and IG Police demanding deployment of security forces in the house under rule 210. A large number of members of anti-riot force came in the house and launched the operation against those MPAs who were disrupting the proceeding of Punjab Assembly. They came in huge numbers and started building a human wall in front of the speaker’s dais to ensure the election process, but they faced severe resistance by the MPAs of PTI and PML-Q.
Moreover, there were a large number of outsiders seen in the house. They were sitting in the officer’s gallery and speaker’s box, and later joined in on the fighting.
The outsiders headed towards the opposition benches and a scuffle ensued between them and PML-N MPAs. PML-N MPAs Rana Mashhood, Malik Waheed, Sohaib Bharth, Mian Raoof and Waqar Cheema were seen fighting with the outsiders and they were trying to oust them from the house.
The PML-N MPAs were of the view that these outsiders were ‘goons’ that were specially called from Gujrat to disrupt the proceedings of the house. Amid this scuffle, PML-N MPA Khawaja Salman Rafique was seen securing Parvez Elahi as he built a human shield to protect him from any damage. After leaving the house, Elahi said that he was brutally beaten up by the PML-N MPAs on the directions of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz. All the trouble-makers were forcefully ousted from the house by the police and ARF managed to establish a human wall around the speaker’s podium and the doors.
When the situation was under control, Deputy Speaker Mazari appeared in the officers’ gallery to conduct the proceedings from there. He started the election process while speaking through the megaphone from the same box as he didn’t come to the house due to the tense environment there.
The PTI MPAs kept chanting slogans against Mazari as Feyyaz Chohan was seen showing a ‘lota’ to him. As the process started, PTI walked out from the house chanting slogans against the PML-N and Mazari. It was then announced just before Iftar that Hamza Shehbaz became the chief minister of Punjab by securing 197 votes while his rival Pervez Elahi couldn’t get any vote.
The session started again after Iftar and Mazari reached the house to take the proceedings further. He said that it was the victory of democracy today and he fulfilled his responsibilities in the light of LHC directions.
Later, Hamza was invited to sit on the seat of leader of the house. “The election of CM was disrupted three times and what happened today was an attack on the sanctity of this house,” said Hamza Shehbaz in his maiden address as leader of the house.
He was of the view that it was a conspiracy against democracy that was foiled today. He said that a committee of the house should be constituted to probe the sad incident. Hamza also elaborated his plan to govern the province and made it clear that they would not take any revenge from anyone.
He further thanked the PPP and the dissidents of PTI who supported him in the election. Syed Hassan Murtaza, parliamentary leader of PPP, said that he was ashamed over what happened in the house.
“It was really shameful that outsiders were jumping into the house while damaging the sanctity of this place,” the PPP leader said, while also demanding a probe into the incident.
Later, Mazari said that a committee would be constituted to probe what happened today in the house and it would submit its report within seven days. The session was later prorogued for an indefinite time period.