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Voting for Punjab CM presided over by goons

"Elahi was supposed to face the voting gracefully. He was supposed to embrace the result gracefully, which he did not"

PML-Q leader Parvez Elahi is obsessed with the chief minister’s office and this obsession is making him do things that are disappointing for his voters to witness.

He wanted to be the chief minister of Punjab in the 1997 elections as former premier Nawaz Sharif had promised that he will be the CM, but later on, the younger Sharif was made the chief minister.

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Elahi later joined then-army chief retired general Pervez Musharraf and formed the PML-Q. Soon, corruption charges under NAB were dropped. Thus, by shaking hands with Musharraf, he finally became the chief minister of Punjab. And to be fair, his tenure was not that bad. He built many roads and watercourses, served agriculture, provided educational and healthcare facilities for free, developed public sector, infrastructure, etc. Parvez Elahi Institute of Cardiology in Multan, the University of Gujrat, the traffic wardens system in Lahore, Rescue 1122 service in Punjab, watercourse brick lining, and the Lahore Ring Road Project are among his notable projects which made him enter the good books of people.

Following the 2008 election, the PPP government arrived. PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari then called PML-Q “Qaatil League”. He called PML-Q and Pervez Musharraf responsible for the murder of late Benazir Bhutto. But despite intense tension, the Chaudhry brothers successfully befriended the PPP. Thus, Parvez Elahi became the federal minister for defence production in the PPP government that once sent him to jail for several months during Benazir’s 1993 tenure.

In the 2013 election, the PML-N government did not approach the PML-Q. But PML-Q successfully turned to PTI. In 2018, then prime minister Imran Khan, who once called Elahi the “biggest robber”, formed an alliance with PML-Q and appointed Elahi speaker of the Punjab Assembly.

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Then the no-confidence motion against the prime minister arrived. During the voting process, the PML-Q was approached by both the opposition and the government for their votes in the no-confidence motion against Imran. Elahi’s cousin, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, agreed with the opposition and told them that PML-Q will support the opposition and will vote against Imran.

Around that time, Elahi gave an interview where he briefly lambasted Imran Khan’s government and even said that his “diapers are being changed which is why Khan never got to learn anything”. Two weeks later, he decided to support the same PTI to remain in power. Why did he suddenly start supporting the incompetent PTI? What changed his mind?

PTI, against its will, offered the chief minister of Punjab office to Elahi and he happily ditched the policy of his party and the commitment the PML-Q had made earlier with the opposition. But many members of the PML-Q, including the son of Chaudhry Shujaat, voted against Imran, indicating they were not happy with what Elahi did.

What happened on Saturday is the icing on the cake. For the first time in history, police were called to the Punjab Assembly and it was because PTI members and their allies created a chaotic environment. Ever since PTI chairman Imran Khan hinted (in fact, threatened) that disgruntled members will be mistreated by people, there have been events where aggressive PTI members have harassed the disgruntled members. First, protesters being led by PTI MNAs Attaullah Niazi and Faheem Khan attacked Sindh House where disgruntled members were staying. Then, disgruntled PTI member Noor Alam Khan was having an iftar dinner when a PTI supporter (who was a senior citizen by the way) reportedly threw a bottle at him calling him a “lota” which then led to a fight. The clear reason for this incident is not known; however, this could have been avoided if that PTI supporter had minded his own business. On Saturday, PTI MPAs attacked the deputy speaker (from their own party) just because he was doing his duty. In the aggressive culture that PTI has introduced, people were hoping that a veteran politician like Elahi will be different. He should have advised and guided Imran on how to deal with these kinds of situations. It was hoped that this session would be different, but it proved to be even worse.

Elahi is a senior politician. He was supposed to cool down the heated environment; instead, he gave a thumbs up when goons attacked Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, pulling his hair, and scratching his face. And using the word goons is not out of place because they would have killed Mazari if other people had not intervened.

Elahi was supposed to face the voting gracefully. He was supposed to embrace the result gracefully, which he did not. Instead of making a scene, he should have boycotted the session earlier. The PML-Q is becoming another reflection of the PTI, which is disappointing to see. After what happened in the assembly, and how he acted, he should retire from politics; rather than falling from grace on a daily basis and embarrassing himself.

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