The opposition refused to attend the Punjab Assembly (PA) proceedings on Friday after three Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPAs submitted their resignations in the assembly secretariat and announced their decision to join Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).
The three MPAs that resigned are Nishat Ahmad Khan Daha from PP-214 Khanewal, Muhammad Jamil Shah from PP-218 Khanewal and Rana Babar Hussain from PP-217 Khanewal.
Daha told The Express Tribune that he resigned due to differences over the PPP’s policies. He said he would contest the next general election from NA-157 against Hamid Yar Hiraj of the PPP.
Shah said he resigned since he did not want to affiliate with the PPP. He said he would decide whether to contest the election on a provincial assembly or national assembly seat.
Opposition Leader in PA Raja Riaz told The Express Tribune that PP-186 MPA Javed Allaudin Sajid and MPA Rai Shahjahan Ahmed Bhatti had also announced their decision to join the PML-N. He said the PPP had stopped development funds for two years for the three resigning MPAs and Sajid after their “PML-N tilt” became known. He said negotiations with Bhatti were ongoing with a stand-off over his wish to contest election on an NA seat, a request that had been rejected by PPP Central Punjab President Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo.
Riaz said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was actually the Pagal-i-Aala (supreme madman) who was trying to destroy Punjab. He said the general election result would be different from the recent by-election since they would be held under a caretaker set up.
Before PA proceedings started, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told media in front of the PA that around 20 PPP MPAs would join the PML-N after assemblies were dissolved. “The PML-N leadership has asked them not to resign just yet and continue work,” he said.
He said three lawmakers submitted their resignations on Friday due to their grievances with the PPP. He said, “A majority of the former Musharraf supporters who switched to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are interesting in joining the PML-N. If the local leadership does not raise objections, they shall be welcomed onboard.”
He said that if the Rawalpindi party leadership is willing to accept Sheikh Rashid, the party would be ready to embrace him. He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Zia head Ejazul Haq could now become a part of the PML-N as the local leadership has not raised objections over his contacts with the PML-N leadership.
The 43rd PA session resumed on Friday two hours late and conducted a short one and a half hour sitting in the presence of 20 members before Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal adjourned the session till 3pm on Monday.
The Local Government and Community Development Department parliamentary secretary Abdul Razzaq Dhillon responded to questions about his department during the question hour. The few PPP MPAs in the premises sat in the opposition chamber to discuss the situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012.