PTI strengthened as five MPAs take oath in parallel PA session

Party’s MPAs confident that Elahi will become next CM after results of by-elections

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has improved its tally in Punjab Assembly as five members on reserved seats took oath as MPAs on Thursday. Three women MPAs and two MPAs on minority seats became new members of the house.

PTI’s Batool Zain, Saira Raza, and Fouzia Abbas Naseem were sworn in for the reserved seats for women, while Habkook Rafiq Babbu and Samuel Yaqoob were sworn in for the minority seats.

As per the details, the Lahore High Court single bench had directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to notify five MPAs of PTI on the reserved seats. These seats fell vacant when 25 PTI MPAs were de-notified after violating the party policy while casting vote for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the election of chief minister held on April 16.

Among those 25 MPAs, five were elected on the reserved seats.

Earlier, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had adjourned the session till July 13 but he rescheduled the session for Thursday when ECP notified five MPAs of PTI. He rescheduled the session only to take the oath of the newly notified MPAs as it would increase the tally of PTI in the house ahead of the reelection of CM already scheduled for July 22.

It is pertinent to mention here that the oath of MPAs was taken in a session that the government and the law department don’t own. The Punjab governor, who has the authority to summon and prorogue the session, has already said that it is just a parliamentary party meeting going on in the Punjab Assembly.

Article 109 of the Constitution of Pakistan authorizes the governor to summon and prorogue the session, while this session going on in Punjab Assembly wasn’t called by the governor. Therefore, the legality of the oath of MPAs is yet to be determined as the PML-N has also challenged the single bench decision of LHC that directed the ECP to notify the PTI MPAs.

The PML-N has maintained in the LHC that the house of Punjab Assembly is incomplete after the de-seating of 25 MPAs and therefore the notification on five reserved seats shouldn’t be issued.

On Thursday, Speaker Elahi administered the oath to five MPAs of PTI who pledged to support their leader Imran Khan in every difficult time. After ECP’s notification, the PTI has felt strengthened in Punjab Assembly as its MPAs believe that Parvez Elahi will become Punjab CM on July 22.

When the session started on Thursday, a thin presence of MPAs was witnessed, while the treasury benches were also deserted as the government has already termed the session illegal. The MPAs of PTI delivered fiery speeches against the Punjab government while also revealing that Parvez Elahi will be the next CM of Punjab after the results of 20 by-elections to be held across the province.

“The day isn’t far when Parvez Elahi will sit on the seat of chief minister instead of the speaker’s seat,” said PTI’s former minister Kheyal Castro. PTI’s woman MPA Musarat Jamshed Cheema said that they will snatch ‘Naya Pakistan’ back from the PML-N and Elahi will sit on the seat of the chief minister.

PTI Central Punjab President Dr. Yasmin Rashid said that she didn’t have good feelings when Parvez Elahi used to issue the production orders of Hamza Shehbaz as Speaker to attend the sittings of this house. She believed that PTI would clinch all the 20 seats in the by-elections scheduled on July 17 and that the party would form government again in Punjab with Elahi in the leading role.

Speaker Elahi also grilled the PML-N as he said that Sharifs have been involved in the illegal acts for a long while. “You shouldn’t leave the polling stations without getting the final results,” Elahi directed the PTI MPAs.

The parallel session of the Punjab Assembly was later adjourned for July 18.

The current party position in Punjab Assembly shows that PML-N has 165 MPAs and PPP has 7. There are five independent MPAs and 1 from the Rah-e-Haq party. PML-N stands at the tally of 177 with the support of seven PPP MPAs, 1 Rah-e-Haq party and 4 independents.

If 5 MPAs on reserved seats are added to the tally of PTI, its strength reached the number of 163. It also enjoys the support of 10 PML-Q MPAs. So, PTI has the support of 173 MPAs. All eyes are now on the by-elections of July 17 as the winning party will form the government in Punjab.