The Punjab Assembly couldn’t elect the leader of the house on Sunday as the session lasted only for a few minutes due to a severe ruckus.
The session started after a delay of more than an hour from its scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair as Speaker Parvez Elahi is in the race for the slot of the CM against Hamza Shehbaz.
The session could last only for seven minutes as woman MPAs from both sides of the aisle attacked each other after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s dissident MPAs crossed the floor and went to the opposition benches.
They were approached by their former colleagues to join them back but they refused to do so, leading to a severe commotion. Subsequently, the deputy speaker adjourned the session until April 6.
The opposition staged a sit-in in the Punjab Assembly against the speaker and the deputy speaker and said that a no-trust motion against them will be moved to the house.
It was learnt that the government didn’t go for the voting as it was lacking the majority in the house of 371 where 200 MPAs were sitting on the opposition benches.
Later, talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly, Parvez Elahi claimed that they were fully prepared for the election of the chief minister as they had the required strength. He blamed the opposition for creating the ruckus in the house.
“When the election process started, our MPAs went to those lawmakers, who were elected on PTI tickets but they were sitting on the opposition benches,” Elahi said, adding: “When the dissidents tried to rejoin their party members, they were attacked by the opposition lawmakers and the deputy speaker was left with no option but to adjourn the session. Now, the election of CM will be held after two days and everything will be clear.”
He added there is no plan under consideration to dissolve the Punjab Assembly and the voting to elect the new leader of the House will take place after two days. He was accompanied by former ministers Raja Bashrat and Hafiz Ammar Yasir.
But he shied away from talking about former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar, who criticized him in his last press conference at the Governor’s House. “I have a long association with Sarwar and, therefore, I’ll say nothing about him,” Elahi said.
Talking about the Jahangir Khan Tareen Group and the Aleem Khan Group, Elahi said that they have no future in politics and, therefore, they should do their businesses.
Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz said that the constitution is being “bulldozed” both in the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly. “It is the darkest day in the political history of Pakistan where the constitution has become a joke,” Hamza said while talking to journalists outside the Punjab Assembly along with MPAs of both Tareen and Aleem Khan groups.
He was of the view that the ruckus was created by woman MPAs of the PTI on the behest of their party when they felt that the PTI doesn’t have the majority in the house.
He also criticized the government for switching off lights in the Punjab Assembly where a large number of PML-N’s MPAs were staging a sit-in. “I respect Parvez Elahi but where is his morality today,” Hamza asked. “He has made a mockery of the house and the apex court should take a notice of it.”
He said that Imran Khan should be tried under Article 6 of the constitution.
PTI’s dissident Aleem Khan advised Parvez Elahi to hold the election for leader of the house in a transparent manner. “Parvez Elahi is our elder but he is doing wrong just for the lust of power,” Aleem Khan alleged.
It is pertinent to mention that the speaker also ordered the closure of the press gallery and journalists couldn’t cover the proceedings of the house. It was unprecedented in the parliamentary history of Punjab where the media was denied entry into the Punjab Assembly.