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EditorialNo end to turmoil in Punjab

No end to turmoil in Punjab

Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz became once again a trustee chief minister on Saturday despite taking oath hours ago as the chief minister after he was declared winner on Friday in the run-off election for the top post under a ruling by the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed orders on a petition by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. Earlier, Hamza Shehbaz remained the trustee chief minister on the Supreme Court’s orders in May. The Punjab Assembly continues to see drama after drama for the last three months. It has seen unprecedented run-off elections, oath delays and election botched by court and deputy speaker rulings. Friday was just another day full of thrills and a bizarre set of incidents, when the Punjab assembly witnessed the continuation of the constitutional crisis faced by Pakistan. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf- (PTI-) backed leader of the house candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was denied the right to become the chief minister of the largest province of the country despite gaining a clear majority in the house. This happened as the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Dost Muhammad Mazari, ruled that the 10 votes casted by the members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-) were not to be counted while he rendered his interpretation of the article 63-A of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan post receiving a letter from the party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Pakistan is seen as no less than this. According to the deputy speaker, who convened the session because the speaker of the Assembly was himself contesting the position of the leader of the house, Hamza Shehbaz received 179 votes while Chaudhry Parvez Elahi received 186 votes and in light of his obscure interpretation of the said article of the constitution, he rendered his ruling that Hamza Shehbaz would be the newly elected chief minister of Punjab.

The country is still embroiled in a constitutional crisis while the aggrieved side led by the PTI chief Imran Khan went to the apex court for dispute resolution. Earlier, Hamza Shehbaz was still serving as the chief minister of Punjab despite the supreme judiciary’s decision that ended his tenure and pronounced the erstwhile elections through which he came into power as unconstitutional. Dost Mazari’s bid to fetch publicity and followers from the PDM’s side only reinforces the age-old adages that “there are no shortcuts to success” and “knowledge and experience have no alternatives”. An excerpt from yesterday’s assembly session, particularly the dialogue between the deputy speaker and PTI’s Raja Basharat, would vehemently narrate for any student of politics the level of political acumen and prowess possessed by the likes of Mazari.

While the country is engulfed in political instability, the economy continues to suffer huge blows as these words are penned down. The rupee is at an all-time low, while neighboring Afghanistan’s currency has strengthened to a level where one Afghan Afghani can fetch almost Rs3. With such a faltering economy and such political stints the country is unlikely to progress towards a better tomorrow. However, now that a chief minister is elected one can hope that the most important province of Pakistan can see some stability. However, it can be clearly seen that the phenomena of horse trading and drawing room politics are deeply entrenched in the system and the public’s mandate can be easily challenged.

It is expected from the bench to conclude the case at the earliest so that the fight is settled and the country turns to normalcy. The prevailing uncertainty has damaged everything from the economy to governance and trade. The country needs economic boost as the common man is the worst sufferer of abnormal working.

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