Ya Elahi, what happened?

PML-Q votes rejected by deputy speaker in light of SC decision in Punjab CM election, Shujaat's letter

Rizwan Shehzad   July 23, 2022
Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari (L); Punjab Assembly Speaker and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (R).


Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi stood for the chief minister of Punjab but he was knocked out in the Punjab Assembly on Friday when Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari, who chaired the session in his place, rejected his personal vote along with his party’s lawmakers on technical ground.

Elahi – the joint candidate of his own Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and major ally the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – voted for himself but little did he imagine that at the end of day his own vote would be rejected, paving for his rival Hamza Shehbaz to win the contest.

Strange as it may seem but it has apparently happened for the first time in the recent democratic history that the vote of a candidate contesting election was rejected along with his party members just because they didn’t obey the instructions of the party head.

Read Article 63A binds members to abide by party policy: SC

To add insult to injury, Elahi and other PML-Q lawmakers may lose their provincial assembly seats if the party head – Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in this case – decides to declare them as defectors and asks the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to proceed against them.

Elahi’s shocking defeat was a result of Hussain’s letter that he sent to Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, stating that he had directed his party’s members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) to vote for Hamza Shehbaz of the PML-Nawaz.

As per law, voting for any other candidate could lead to defection. Since Hussain had barred the PML-Q MPAs, including Elahi, from voting for the PTI candidate, Mazari declared that the votes that 10 PML-Q lawmakers had cast were in violation of the party head’s direction and a recent order of the Supreme Court, which ruled that defecting lawmakers’ votes could not be counted.

Hussain’s letter emerged after his consecutive meetings with Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) President Asif Zardari at the time, when the PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the PML-Q leadership were busy protecting their lawmakers from being allegedly bought by the rival parties.

For the past several weeks, the PTI and the PML-Q leaderships had been slogging it out in the heat and dust of legal cases to win back the country’s political capital. The PTI had got a boost in the July 17 by-elections when it won 15 out of 20 seats.

Soon after PTI’s resounding victory in the by-elections, the party leadership felt that the stars were aligned for it and it could change the situation in its favour any time. The PTI decided to form a government in Punjab and threw its weight behind Elahi for the province’s top slot.

Zardari along with Hussain, however, made it look that they were so near yet so far from the destination. They foiled the PTI’s plan to bring the ruling alliance to its knees, as Friday night turned out to be a nightmare for PTI and PML-Q.

The result is particularly humiliating for Elahi as he found himself jumping out of the frying pan into the fire when he voted for himself and left red-faced by Hussain’s letter and Mazari’s ruling.


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