Ruckus in Punjab Assembly: PTI members attack Dost Muhammad Mazari

LAHORE: As when it was expected that the Punjab Assembly would elect its chief minister today in line with the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), the PTI lawmakers created a ruckus inside the hall and attacked Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari.

The session was scheduled to start at 11:30am but got delayed due to the disorderly behaviour of PTI members.

According to the details, the lawmakers of the ruling party threw “lotas” at Mazari first, attacked him and pulled his hair despite the presence of security guards.

Mazari left the hall after the incident.

The PTI lawmakers caused a ruckus inside the assembly when they brought “lotas” to the house and started chanting “lota, lota” (turncoats) as they lashed out at dissident PTI MPAs who parted ways with the party and decided to support the Opposition.

Speaking outside the assembly, PML-N leader Ataullah Tarrar urged the LHC chief justice to take notice of the incident.

“We are not creating any hurdle in the proceedings of the house. We will not go until voting is held. We will wait till 12:00am,” he said.

PML-N claims support of 200 MPs

A tough competition is expected between the two candidates — Hamza Shahbaz and Parvez Elahi. Hamza is the joint candidate of PML-N and other coalition parties, while PML-Q’s Elahi is being backed by PTI.

The CM’s office has been vacant for nearly two weeks since ex-governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar — who was removed from his position last week — accepted Usman Buzdar’s resignation on April 1.

In a symbolic session of the provincial assembly, the Opposition elected PML-N leader Hamza as the chief minister after Speaker Elahi sealed off the Punjab Assembly on April 6.

The joint opposition has claimed to have the support of 200 members and is confident of winning the CM election. In the house of 371, Hamza Shahbaz needs the support of 186 members to become the chief minister.

Elahi doubtful of Mazari’s intentions

In a conversation with journalists after reaching the assembly, Elahi said despite being the speaker, he was not the custodian of the house today as he is a contender for the chief minister’s slot.

“Time will prove whether the deputy speaker was honest or not […] we will try to hold a transparent election today,” Elahi said, adding he knows from where Dost Mohammad Mazari is taking instructions and will share details at the right time.

He said that some people did not have clear intentions and claimed to have the numbers for winning the election.

‘Dissidents can vote’

Earlier in the day, Deputy Speaker Mazari had said he would conduct today’s election in line with the rules as he maintained that if any member of the Punjab Assembly tried to disrupt the session, he would not come under pressure.

“The election will be free and fair […] the election will take place today and the result would also be announced today,” Mazari had told reporters.

The deputy speaker had said both sides — the Opposition and the treasury — would attempt to delay the election, but he vowed to hold the polls in a “good manner”.

He had also noted that dissident members from any party will be allowed to cast their votes today.

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