It will be more difficult now for Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to become Punjab chief minister after the ouster of Imran Khan from the Prime Minister’s House.
Elahi, a seasoned politician and a nominee of the ruling coalition for the office of Punjab chief minister, was already facing difficulty in meeting the required strength of 186 MPAs to become the leader of the house in Punjab Assembly.
After the ouster of Imran Khan from his office as a result of the success of no-trust motion against him, it will not be smooth sailing for Elahi as the opposition already has more MPAs in its fold.
On Sunday, Imran Khan and Parvez Elahi talked on phone to discuss the political situation in the aftermath of what happened in Islamabad in the wee hours of Sunday. Elahi assured his full support to Imran Khan while the PTI chairman said that the MPAs of his party will support Elahi in his contest for CM Punjab.
It is pertinent to mention here that Imran Khan, who was the prime minister just a day ago, had met Elahi at Governor’s House during his visit to Lahore last week. A large number of MPAs hailing from the PTI remained absent from the parliamentary party meeting of Punjab chaired by Imran Khan last week in Lahore, raising alarm bells for Elahi.
Parvez Elahi will contest against the nominee of the joint opposition, Hamza Shehbaz, in the session of the Punjab Assembly convened on April 16. The opposition claims that it has the support of 202 MPAs, including the dissidents of PTI while 186 are required to form the government in Punjab. It is pertinent to mention here that Hamza got 199 MPAs’ votes when the opposition held a ‘mock’ session at a local hotel in Lahore when the lawmakers were denied entry to Punjab Assembly.
To discuss the formation of government, the joint opposition held a meeting at Lahore’s Royal Swiss Hotel where the MPAs are residing. Leader of the opposition and candidate for Chief Minister, Hamza Shehbaz gave an Iftar dinner to the MPAs. The dinner was attended by Aleem Khan, JKT and Asad Khokhar groups at the hotel. Speaking on the occasion, Hamza Shehbaz said that the MPAs of opposition are united and it has the figure of 202.
“The delaying tactics of government to convene the session of Punjab Assembly will fail and it will face a defeat similar to the one we all saw in the National Assembly,” Hamza said while speaking to the media.
The Lahore High Court will hear the petition filed by Hamza for early convening of the Punjab Assembly session today.
In the meantime, Feyaz ul Hassan Chohan, spokesperson of Parvez Elahi, said that the opposition’s claim of having the support of over 200 MPAs is fake. “The votes of PTI dissidents will not be counted for violating the party policy under Article 63-A,” he said while also accusing the opposition of being involved in horse-trading for buying the loyalties of MPAs. “We have 189 votes and Parvez Elahi will be elected Punjab chief minister on April 16,” he said.