There is no Unification bloc in Punjab Assembly: Rana Iqbal

Muslim League factions led by Chaudhry Zaheerudin and Tahir Javed will exist as separate entities, says Rana Iqbal.


Express February 24, 2011

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly Speaker on Thursday said that the Unification bloc has not been registered in the House. Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal was speaking to media outside the provincial assembly.

Iqbal said said there was no Unification bloc in the Punjab Assembly. The Punjab Assembly speaker said he had taken a decision on the issue according to the guidelines provided in the 18th Amendment. He said a copy of the decision will be issued to PPP Minister Raja Riaz.

He added that Muslim League factions led by Chaudhry Zaheerudin and Tahir Javed will exist as separate entities in the House.

Earlier in the day, senior provincial minister in Punjab Raja Riaz protested against the formation of the Unification bloc, and urged  Punjab assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal to change the decision to allot seats to the break-away group.

Talking to media after meeting Iqbal,  Riaz said the PPP would also approach the Election Commission and Courts to move against this decision. He said that a no confidence motion will not be tabled against Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. He added that the PPP leadership would make a decision about sitting on opposition benches, and currently, party ministers will not resign from the Punjab government.

The PPP's strong objection to the Unification bloc being assigned seats in the Punjab Assembly rides on the fact that the Unification Bloc can vote for Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif if a vote of confidence is called, according to a Law Department summary sent to the Punjab Assembly speaker.

A department official, talking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, said that according to the department advice, sub article 8 of Article 63 A (the law against floor crossing) will take effect following the next general election.

“It is a win-win situation since the law does not apply to the current situation. The Unification Bloc members can ignore the opposition leader’s instructions,” the official said.

A decision in principle has already been taken by the PML-N to distance itself from its partner the PPP. As a consequence, the PML-N leadership has decided to expel members from the PPP, who are holding portfolios in the provincial cabinet, within this month.

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