Opp senses ‘conspiracy’ as PA session evades voting on CM slot

PTI, PML-N trade barbs over switching of loyalties by some women lawmakers

Rana Yasif April 03, 2022
Punjab Assembly. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The opposition in Punjab termed the government’s conduct of adjourning assembly’s proceedings before initiating voting for the provincial top slot as a “conspiracy” against their constitutional right.

Members of the ruling PTI and the opposing PML-N traded barbs during the session, causing it to be adjourned. The media was barred from coverage from the press gallery of the Punjab Assembly.

The session, chaired by Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari, witnessed tensions between the two sides as a group of women lawmakers belonging to the ruling party moved towards the opposition benches for the recovery of three of their colleagues who had switched sides. However, the matter was dealt with in a peaceful manner.

Later, as the deputy speaker started introducing nominees’ names, the said lawmakers made another attempt, which evolved into a fiery argument, and led to the ruling party using abusive language against the opposition. During this episode, a woman lawmaker belonging to the PML-N was slightly injured.

This prompted the deputy speaker to adjourn the session. Interestingly, this happened minutes after the National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri rejected the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan and wrapped up the lower house session.

Following the adjournment, PTI pinned the blame on PML-N, saying they only wanted to bring their three lawmakers back to the treasury benches, but were prevented by the opposition party from doing so.

On the other hand, the PML-N lawmakers made it clear that the PTI lawmakers were with them, and the ruling party wanted to take them back forcefully while they did not want to return.

As the house’s proceedings were adjourned till April 6, PML-N lawmakers staged a protest in the assembly chambers, but as the lights went off, they came to the sitting area. When the lights of this area were also switched off, water in the premises’ washrooms was also stopped. The lawmakers were not allowed to get food for Iftaar delivered as well, but when they were finally granted access, they used their mobile phones’ flashlight to have their meal.

Meanwhile, PML-N also decided to knock the doors of the Supreme Court (SC) against the provincial government’s conduct. Attaullah Tarar told The Express Tribune that when the chief minister had resigned, the schedule for the election had been issued, nomination papers had been submitted and the voting date had been fixed, there was no need for adjournment.

He termed the government’s act as “unconstitutional”, adding that this was why they were approaching the apex court.

When asked why they were approaching the top court instead of any other forum, he said that the matter had already been taken by the SC.

Earlier, while leaving the assembly’s premises, PML-Q leader and nominee for the provincial top slot Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said that PML-N wanted to escape, therefore it created a ruckus in the assembly. He also claimed that the PTI had enough numbers to emerge victorious.

When asked about Chaudhry Sarwar’s dismissal from governorship, former chief minister Usman Buzdar said that it was the prerogative of the PTI to replace the governor for provincial interests.

PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz, another contender for chief ministership, said that the nation and institutions were fully aware about the sensitivity of matters. He said that disgruntled PTI leaders Jahangir Khan Tareen and Aleem Khan had fallen prey to the “vested interests” of Prime Minister Imran.

He alleged that the ruling party had not served democracy, and all its acts were meant to derail the country.

All opposition lawmakers were still inside the assembly premises till the filing of this report.




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