PTI submits no-trust motion against Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Dost Muhammad Mazari

LAHORE: The political crisis in Punjab took a new turn after the ruling PTI submitted a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari as he decided to summon a session today, instead of April 16.

Following the submission of the motion, PML-Q said that Deputy Speaker Mazari is “no longer authorised” to summon a session.

The move is surprising as Mazari won his provincial assembly seat on a PTI ticket.

The motion was submitted after Deputy Speaker Mazari told Geo News that the secretariat staff of the Punjab Assembly was not “cooperating” with him.

“Punjab Assembly secretariat staff is not cooperating with me,” Mazari told Geo News. He had added that the session called today would happen and he had summoned the Assembly session on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Mazari said that the advocate-general of Punjab had stated before the Supreme Court that the session will be held today.

“I did not consult the Punjab government, PTI or the speaker. I summoned the Assembly session in light of the Supreme Court’s orders,” said Mazari.

Ahead of Mazari’s conversation with Geo News, sources had confirmed that the secretary of the Assembly refused to follow the orders of the deputy speaker.

The sources said that the secretary is refusing to call the session as it cannot be summoned on a “simple piece of paper”.

On the other hand, the spokesperson of the Punjab Assembly, speaker Zain Ali Bhatti, shared that the session will be summoned on April 16.

“Till an official letter is not issued, the first order will remain in place,” said Bhatti. He added that the Assembly is being refurbished due to the damage done to the hall in the last session.

When Mazari was asked a question about the validity of his orders, the deputy speaker said that the “notification was not fake”. He added that the notification summoning the session on April 16 was also issued by him and has been cancelled.

Police deployed outside PA secretariat

On the instructions of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a heavy contingent of police has been deployed outside the Assembly secretariat to avoid any untoward situation.

Meanwhile, Elahi also banned the entry of media persons to the provincial assembly, security staff confirmed.

Punjab Assembly session called to elect new CM Punjab today

A crucial session of the Punjab Assembly has been called hurriedly today to elect the new chief minister of the province, Geo News reported.

On Sunday, the Punjab Assembly session had been adjourned until April 6, however, on April 5 advocate general Punjab also assured the Supreme Court that the provincial assembly would conduct a session on April 6 as per the constitution.

Subsequently hours after the advocate general Punjab’s assurance, the provincial assembly session was postponed further till April 16.

The notification for holding the session on April 16 was also issued after Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari approved the order.

In a surprise move, in the wee hours of Wednesday, the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Dost Mazari called a provincial assembly session to elect a new chief minister of the province today.

A notification has also been issued in this regard, which stated that the “40th session of Punjab Assembly will now be held on Wednesday at 7:30 PM for the election of chief minister of Punjab.”

The political temperature and uncertainty in the country already continue to rise as President dissolved the National Assembly on the PM’s advice, however, both government and opposition are busy in political manoeuvrings for the CM’s slot.

Following Pervaiz Elahi’s announcement to support the government in the no-trust motion, the PM had asked Usman Buzdar to step down and nominated the PML-Q leader for the CM’s post.

On the other hand, joint opposition including disgruntled PTI leader Aleem Khan and Jahangir Tareen announced full support for PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz.

Number game in Punjab

Both candidates need at least 186 votes in the House of 371 to win the poll for the slot of CM Punjab.

With the house comprising 371 MPAs, the PML-N seems highly optimistic about regaining the crown of Punjab that it lost in 2018.

The Opposition claims that its joint strength comprising its own 160 MPAs (PML-N total strength is 165 out of which five MPAs are siding with the government), seven MPAs of PPP, and the rest from the rebel groups of PTI headed by Jehangir Khan Tareen (JKT) and Abdul Aleem Khan and four out of five independents, stands above 188.

On the other hand, the ruling coalition’s candidate has also used his experience and influence in winning the support of JKT group MPAs, and publicly, MPA Rafaqat Gilani, a part of the JKT group has claimed that he was “siding with Imran and cannot leave him in crucial time”.

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