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Punjab finally gets to elect CM today

Deputy speaker had earlier rescheduled session for April 16

The crucial Punjab Assembly session to elect the new leader of the House will indeed be held today (Wednesday) after being rescheduled for April 16 early Tuesday.

According to an order issued by Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari late Tuesday night, he suspended his earlier directives to hold the session after 10 days.

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“In supersession of my earlier order in this behalf, and in the exercise of the powers vested in me under rule 25(b), read with rule 15, of the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab 1997, I … hereby order that instead of earlier announced date of Saturday 16th April 2022 at 11.30 am, the next sitting of the 40th Session of Punjab Assembly will now be held on Wednesday (today) … at 7:30 pm in Assembly Chambers, Lahore for the election of Chief Minister Punjab under Article 130 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the new order read.

Earlier, the session of the Punjab Assembly was adjourned just after six minutes as the house failed to elect the chief minister on Sunday due to the ruckus created by the members of the provincial assembly (MPAs).

The Press Gallery was locked for journalists but the videos provided by the MPAs showed that around 200 members were sitting on the opposition benches and the government didn’t have the required number.

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Speaker Parvez Elahi had made it clear that the voting would now be held on the same day, but after a notification issued by the deputy speaker earlier in the day stated that the process had been delayed by 10 days, the new notification superseded it.

Earlier, insiders said the government was deliberately delaying the session as it lacked the numbers required to elect the Chief Minister(CM) of its choice. In the house of 371, the votes of 186 MPAs are required to elect the CM. A meeting was held between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Parvez Elahi on Tuesday at Governor House during the PM’s visit to Lahore.

Moonis Elahi was also present in the meeting. The PM was informed that the PTI’s nominee, Parvez Elahi, could not win in this situation, as a large number of dissidents had crossed the floor. Soon after the meeting was over, the notification to delay the session was issued by the deputy speaker, which was later cancelled late Tuesday night.

According to sources, Elahi had planned to suspend the memberships of around two dozen MPAs of the opposition ahead of voting to elect the CM, believing that it would help him get the majority of the House.

Similar apprehensions were also shown by Leader of the Opposition Hamza Shahbaz, who will contest against Elahi. Soon after the notification was issued to delay the session, Hamza slammed both Imran Khan and Elahi. Addressing a hurriedly called press conference at the PML-N Model Town secretariat, he said, “Imran Khan is attacking the constitution of Pakistan by becoming a suicide bomber. Efforts are being made to turn Pakistan into a banana republic.”

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