A new tug of war has started between Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari over the Punjab Assembly matters as the former denied accepting all actions taken by the latter, who was the then acting speaker, in response to violations during CM’s election on April 16.
Acting Speaker Mazari had suspended from service four Punjab Assembly Secretariat officials, including Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti, for not cooperating with him and following his “lawful” directions for the smooth sailing of the CM's election.
Mazari constituted a committee comprising nine MPAs to investigate the physical assault on the presiding officer, MPAs, and obstruction in assembly proceedings, we well as sought recommendations for appropriate action against those who were responsible. Mazari had also adjourned the house proceedings for an indefinite period.
Elahi, who was the speaker before election and is now serving as the speaker in accordance with the rules, not only summoned the house on April 28 but also denied accepting the measures taken by Mazari, the then acting speaker, in response to the violations in the assembly.
On Sunday, Speaker Elahi, responding Mazari’s notification suspending four PA Secretariat officials, made it clear through the assembly’s spokesperson that the relevant authority was the speaker who could suspend Grade 20 or above cadre officials in accordance with the Punjab Assembly Employees Act. He rejected the suspension notification, declaring it illegal.
Speaker Elahi also denied accepting Mazari’s second notification for constituting a special committee to probe the untoward incidents on April 16 mentioning that as per Rule 187 of Rules of Procedure of Provincial Assembly of the Punjab 1997, it was the propagative of the house to constitute a special committee. Furthermore, the house would only constitute a special committee if a motion in this regard was moved.
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Elahi also summoned the house on April 28 which the then acting speaker (on April 16) had prorogued for an indefinite period.
A reliable source claimed that PML-Q’s Elahi would never accept the CM’s election held on April 16 when the then acting Speaker Mazari had presided over the session to elect Hamza Shehbaz as the Punjab chief minister. He said the reason behind Elahi’s move of summoning the house was to create complications in the procedure of Hamza’s election as the chief minister.
Further, there is a high probability that Mazari could again be attacked in the house if he comes to join the session. “There will be ruckus and once again scuffle will take place,” the source claimed. “Legal measures will be adopted against the CM’s contest held on April 16 and some legal work could be adopted against Mazari.”
It is pertinent to mention that the rift started on April 16 when the then nominee for the CM’s slot, Elahi, derailed the assembly process for several hours, his MPAs not only manhandled the then acting speaker Mazari but also the police officials.
Later, Mazari while adopting required measures called more security officials who took the enraged MPAs and Elahi outside the assembly chambers, after which, the smooth process of voting began.
After the election, then acting speaker Mazari suspended from service four Punjab Assembly Secretariat officials, including Secretary Bhatti, for not cooperating with him and following his lawful directions for conducting the CM’s election peacefully. Apart from Bhatti, Secretary Coordination Inayatullah Lak, Special Secretary Amir Habib and Security Officer Sardar Akbar Nasir had been suspended.
Then, he constituted a committee comprising nine MPAs to investigate the matter. The nine members belong to five political parties – two each from PML-N and PTI, one each from PPPP, PML-Q and Rahi Haq Party, and two independent members. MPA Qasim Abbas Khan, an independent candidate, will be the convener of the committee.
From PML-N’s side MPAs Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan and Samiullah Khan will be its members, Taimoor Ali Lali and Muhammad Salman from PTI, Syed Ali Haider Gillani from the PPPP, Muhammad Abdullah Warraich from PML-Q, Muhammad Moavia from Rahi Haq Party and independent MPAs Qasim Abbas Khan (convener).
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