- Crucial Punjab Assembly session for CM election to start shortly.
- Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari to chair session.
- Strict security arrangements made in and outside Punjab Assembly.
Punjab will once again be the centre of attention today (Friday) as all eyes are set on the crucial session of the Punjab Assembly to hold the process of the chief minister’s election between incumbent CM Hamza Shahbaz and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi.
The contest is expected to shape the country’s future political scenario. Ahead of the polls, Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari and Hamza arrived at the assembly. Upon his arrival, Hamza said: “God willing, we will win the election.”
The session was set to start at 4pm but could not begin on time.
The landslide victory of PTI in last week’s Punjab by-polls turned the tables around in the Punjab Assembly. However, there still is widespread confusion over the numbers of the two major parties of Punjab — PTI and PML-N — who will have a thrilling contest for the Punjab CM between their respective candidates Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
As the speaker himself is a candidate for the contest, the session will be held under the chairpersonship of Mazari, who has sought strict security arrangements for today’s political activity.
Changes in Punjab will not affect Centre: PML-N
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, in a pre-poll press briefing in Lahore, said that it was not necessary that a change in Punjab will have an effect on the federal government as well.
The federal minister said that the situation was not what it seemed like as he stressed that the PML-N will “remain in Punjab and hold its ground.”
In a scathing attack on PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the PML-N leader said that the former prime minister does not wish to see stability in Pakistan and “wishes to turn it into Sri Lanka”.
Asad Umar hints at not dissolving assembly
Talking to journalists shortly before the start of the session, PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar hinted at not dissolving the Punjab Assembly after Elahi gets elected as the chief minister.
“The Punjab Assembly will continue till the current system is intact,” he told journalists.
The PTI leader said that PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s politics of “buying” politicians has ceased to exist as the voters have rejected the party, referring to the PTI’s victory in the by-election.
Umar added that the PTI has the numbers it needs and Elahi will win the election.
Qureshi hopes poll will be conducted ‘peacefully’
PTI Senior Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi, meanwhile, told journalists that he hopes that the election will be conducted “peacefully” as compared to the last one which was marred by violence.
Assuring that the party will cooperate with the deputy speaker, he hoped that PTI’s allies and the government will abide by their promise.
Qureshi termed the “auctions” of politicians embarrassing and urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the people who have sold their “conscience”.
Gandapur leads 186 MPAs to assembly
PTI leader and former minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan affairs Ali Amin Gandapur was seen leading his party’s MPAs in buses to the Punjab Assembly.
Gandapur, known for his hardline attitude, counted the MPAs to ensure that the party has the right number of lawmakers and their and PML-Q’s joint candidate wins the CM election today.
The PTI said that a total of 186 — the required simple majority of lawmakers — had reached the Punjab Assembly and they were asked to remain in the assembly’s committee room.
The lawmakers were taken to the assembly in four separate buses — and were not allowed to arrive at the assembly on their own as the party wanted to ensure that none of their lawmakers went missing for any reason.
The MPAs also offered Friday prayers in the committee room.
Independent candidate announces support for Hamza
Syed Muhammad Rafiuddin Bukhari, an independent candidate who clinched PP-228 Lodhran V in the by-election and secured 45,020 votes, announced support for Hamza.
“Although I am not a member of a party, I will support Hamza Shahbaz sahab,” Bukhari said in a video shared by the PML-N.
IG Punjab, chief secretary seek transfers
In fear of PTI coming into power, Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal and Inspector-General Rao Sardar have reportedly sought the transfer of their services to the Centre.
The top-ranking government officials had sent their transfer request to the incumbent government a few days back, sources told Geo News.
Their request came after PTI Chairperson Imran Khan, following the party’s win in the by-elections, warned that he remembers the name of every police and government official “involved” in activities against his party.
LHC prohibits police from entering assembly
On the petition of the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan and PTI leader Zainab Umar, the Lahore High Court (LHC) prohibited Punjab Police from entering the assembly premises.
LHC’s Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabbir said that the police can enter the assembly premises if the law and order situation deteriorates.
Security sought for Punjab Assembly
In a letter written to the chief secretary and inspector-general on the eve of the CM election, Mazari requested that security officials be deployed within the boundaries and inside the premises of the Assembly hall to ward off any untoward incident.
Following the requisition, the Punjab police devised a security plan. According to it, 1,400 security personnel will be deployed inside and outside the Punjab Assembly.
The police said that security officials are being deployed to ensure the proceedings of the session are held peacefully and that the protection of all members of Parliament is also a major concern.
Where do things stand?
Political analysts believe if the opposition parties — PTI and the PML-Q — win the prized slot in Punjab, the coalition government in the Centre will ultimately feel the heat, The News reported. With two provincial governments in pocket, ousted premier Imran Khan would prove to be a bigger threat to the PML-N-led federal government, hence chances of an early general election in the country.
Due to significance of the contest, wheeling and dealing by the arch-rivals continued during the last 3-4 days, and reached its peak on Thursday night, when the election was almost 12 hours away.
Ahead of the crucial election, former prime minister Imran Khan presided over the parliamentary party meeting of PTI and PML-Q. The meeting was attended by 186 members of the provincial assembly, while Mazari did not participate.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry claimed to have the support of 186 MPAs, the required number for winning the CM election. Former federal minister and PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi also said the Hamza government game was over, as they had the required numbers, adding that Shehbaz Sharif had ruined anyone or any institution that helped him.
Punjab Assembly number game
Pervez Elahi is now the most likely to replace Hamza Shahbaz Sharif as the new chief minister of the province after the changed situation in the province.
Almost all the turncoats who joined the PML-N and voted for Hamza Shahbaz Sharif lost to the PTI candidates in Sundays Punjab by-elections. PTI grabbed 15 of the total 20 seats in the Punjab by-polls, while PML-N won four seats and the remaining one seat went to an independent candidate.
Before the by-polls, the PTI and PML-Q had already jointly attained the strength of 173 (163 of PTI and 10 of PML-Q).
Now, with 15 additional seats, this strength has reached 188 whereas the figure of the simple majority stands at 186. This means the PTI and PML-Q have crossed that landmark.
One independent MPA will likely be part of the new ruling coalition.
On the other hand, the ruling coalition has 179 members with PML-N coming in as the second largest party in the Punjab Assembly with 164 members (four new), PPP with seven, three independents and one member of the Pakistan Rah-e-Haq party.
Two MPAs of PML-N, including Jaleel Sharaqpuri and Faisal Niazi, had resigned while Chaudhry Nisar is unlikely to vote for any of the candidates. Two seats are vacant in the House of 371 as a result of the resignation of PML-N MPAs.
‘We are asking you politely to appoint AGP,’ SC to govt
- SC expresses displeasure over delay in AGP’s appointment.
- Justice Isa calls govt “incompetent”.
- Says govt violating Constitution by not appointing AGP.
The Supreme Court on Monday, while fuming over the delay in the attorney general of Pakistan’s (AGP) appointment, told the federal government to fill the constitutional post.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa gave remarks on the lack of assistance from the attorney general in a case related to tampered car.
“We are asking you politely to appoint the attorney general,” Justice Isa told the government during the hearing.
“Who is the attorney general in the country right now?” questioned Justice Isa.
At this, the deputy attorney general failed to give a satisfying answer.
“The government is so incompetent that it cannot even appoint an attorney general,” said the Supreme Court justice.
He questioned whether the government is bargaining with someone over the AGP’s appointment.
“The Supreme Court has 5,500 lawyers but the government cannot find a single one,” he added.
Justice Isa said that the government is violating the Constitution by not appointing the AGP, adding that the orders given by the apex court were not followed either.
The court said that the additional attorney general and the deputy attorney general are bound to take instructions from the AGP only.
“It is against the law for the deputy and additional attorney general to appear without instructions of the AGP,” the court added.
‘AGP to be finalised in 2-3 days’
On January 21, Federal Law Minister Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar said that the new attorney general will be finalized within two or three days.
The judiciary had expressed displeasure with the government for not appointing the AGP after former attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali tendered his resignation in October last year due to health reasons.
President Dr Arif Alvi approved the appointment of Mansoor Usman Awan, who is a Supreme Court lawyer, as the AGP on December 23 after accepting Ausaf’s resignation. However, he refused from taking charge.
“I am going to meet PM Shehbaz today (Saturday) and possibly the issue of appointing the new attorney general will be finalised within two or three days,” Tarar said.
He revealed that first Awan consented to be the attorney general but later he verbally and in writing refused to accept the office, citing his professional engagements.
“I can’t disclose the names of the new potential candidates, being nominated for the slot of attorney general but hopefully the prime minister will finalize the name within two to three days,” he told The News.
Here’s the list of PTI MNAs whose resignations have been accepted so far
National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday accepted the resignations of 35 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNAs taking the total number of resignations accepted in the last eight months to 81.
The National Assembly Secretariat, in a statement issued in this regard, mentioned that the resignations have been approved under Clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Following the approval of the resignations, the summary was sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to de-notify the PTI lawmakers.
Here’s a list of all 35 MNAs whose resignations were accepted today:
- Dr Haider Ali Khan — NA-2
- Saleem Rehman — NA-3
- Sahibzada Sibghatullah — NA-5
- Mehboob Shah — NA-6
- Muhammad Bashir Khan — NA-7
- Junaid Akbar — NA-8
- Sher Akbar Khan —NA-9
- Ali Khan Jadoon —NA-16
- Engr Usman Khan Tarakai — NA-19
- Mujahid Ali — NA-20
- Arbab Amir Ayub — NA-28
- Sher Ali Arbab — NA-30
- Shahid Ahmed — NA-34
- Gul Dad Khan — NA-40
- Sajid Khan — NA-42
- Mohammad Iqbal Khan — NA-44
- Aamer Mehmood Kiani — NA-61
- Syed Faiz ul Hassan — NA-70
- Ch Shoukat Ali Bhatti — NA-87
- Umar Aslam Khan — NA-93
- Amjad Ali Khan — NA-96
- Khurram Shahzad — NA-107
- Faizullah — NA-109
- Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar — NA-135
- Syed Fakhar Imam — NA-150
- Zahoor Hussain Qureshi — NA-152
- Ibraheem Khan — NA-158
- Tahir Iqbal — NA-164
- Aurangzeb Khan Khichi — NA-165
- Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar — NA-177
- Abdul Majeed Khan — NA-187
- Andaleeb Abbas — RS-Women
- Asma Qadeer — RS-Women
- Maleeka Ali Bokhari — RS-Women
- Munawara Bibi Baloch — RS-Women
The NA speaker accepted 70 resignations this week, as he approved the resignations of 35 lawmakers earlier this week.
Here’s a list of all those 35 MNAs de-notified by the ECP:
- Murad Saeed — NA-04 Swat-III
- Omar Ayub Khan — NA-17 Haripur-I
- Asad Qaiser — NA-18 Swabi-I
- Pervaiz Khattak — NA-25 Nowshera-I
- Imran Khattak — NA-26 Nowshera-II
- Sheharyar Afridi — NA-32 Kohat
- Ali Amin Khan — NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan-I
- Noor-ul-Haq Qadri — NA-43 Khyber Agency Tribal Area-IV
- Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz — NA-52 ICT-I
- Ali Nawaz Awan — NA-53 ICT-II
- Asad Umar — NA-54 ICT-III
- Sadaqat Ali Khan — NA-57 Rawalpindi-I
- Ghulam Sarwar Khan — NA-59 Rawalpindi-III
- Sheikh Rashid Shafique — NA-60 Rawalpindi-IV
- Sheikh Rashid Ahmed — NA-62 Rawalpindi-VI
- Mansoor Hayat Khan — NA-63 Rawalpindi-VIII
- Fawad Ahmed — NA-67 Jehlum II
- M. Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel — NA-97 Bhakkar-II
- Muhammad Hammad Azhar — NA-126 Lahore IV
- Shafqat Mahmood Khan — NA-126 Lahore VIII
- Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar — NA-155 Multan-II
- Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi — NA-156 Multan-III
- Zartaj Gul — NA-191 DG Khan-III
- Faheem Khan — NA-241 Korangi Karachi III
- Saif Ur Rehman — NA-242 Karachi East-I
- Muhammad Alamgir Khan — NA-243 Karachi East-II
- Syed Ali Haider Zaidi — NA-244 Karachi East-III
- Aftab Hussain Saddique — NA-247 Karachi South-II
- Atta-Ullah — NA-250 Karachi West-III
- Aftab Jhangir — NA-252 Karachi West-V
- Muhammad Aslam Khan — NA-254 Karachi Central-II
- Muhammad Najeeb Haroon — NA-256 Karachi Central-IV
- Muhammad Qasim Khan Suri — NA-265 Quetta-II
- Aliya Hamza Malik — RS-Women
- Kanwal Shauzab — RS-Women
Earlier on July 28, 2022, the speaker approved the resignations of 11 PTI members under Article 64(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
According to the notification, the NA speaker accepted the resignations of the following members of the lower house last year:
- Ali Muhammad Khan — NA-11, Mardan-III
- Fazal Muhammad Khan — NA-24, Charsadda-II
- Shaukat Ali — NA-31, Peshawar-V
- Fakhar Zaman Khan — NA-45, Kurram-I
- Farrukh Habib — NA-108, Faisalabad-VIII
- Ijaz Ahmad Shah — NA-118, Nankana Sahib-II
- Jamil Ahmed Khan — NA-237, Malir-II
- Muhammad Akram Cheema — NA-239, Korangi Karachi-I
- Abdul Shakoor Shad — NA-246, Karachi South-I
- Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari — Reserved Seat for Women (Punjab)
- Shandana Gulzar Khan — Reserved Seat for Women (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
NA speaker accepts resignations of 35 more PTI lawmakers
- Resignations accepted in accordance with Article 64 of Constitution.
- Summary sent to ECP to de-notify PTI lawmakers.
- Seventy PTI resignations have been accepted this week.
ISLAMABAD: The political uncertainty continues in Pakistan after the National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz on Friday accepted the resignations of 35 more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNAs.
The PTI had resigned from the lower house of parliament after the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April 2022.
According to a press release issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the resignations were accepted in accordance with clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution and rules of procedure and conduct of Business in the NA.
“In accordance with clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with Rule 43 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly of Pakistan 2007, the Hon’ble Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan has been pleased to accept the resignations of the following Members of the National Assembly with effect from April 11, 2022, the date when the letter of respective resignations was submitted,” said the statement.
The resignations had been accepted with effect from 11 April 2022, the date when the letters of respective resignations were submitted, said Radio Pakistan.
Following the approval of the resignations, the summary was sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to de-notify the PTI lawmakers.
Here’s the list of PTI lawmakers whose resignations have been accepted:
|01||Dr Haider Ali Khan||NA-2|
|05||Muhammad Bashir Khan||NA-7|
|07||Sher Akbar Khan||NA-9|
|08||Ali Khan Jadoon||NA-16|
|09||Engr Usman Khan Tarakai||NA-19|
|11||Arbab Amir Ayub||NA-28|
|12||Sher Ali Arbab||NA-30|
|14||Gul Dad Khan||NA-40|
|16||Mohammad Iqbal Khan||NA-44|
|17||Aamer Mehmood Kiani||NA-61|
|18||Syed Faiz ul Hassan||NA-70|
|19||Chaudhry Shoukat Ali Bhatti||NA-87|
|20||Umar Aslam Khan||NA-93|
|21||Amjad Ali Khan||NA-96|
|24||Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar||NA-135|
|25||Syed Fakhar Imam||NA-150|
|26||Zahoor Hussain Qureshi||NA-152|
|29||Aurangzeb Khan Khichi||NA-165|
|30||Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar||NA-177|
|31||Abdul Majeed Khan||NA-187|
|32||Andaleeb Abbas||Reserved seat|
|33||Asma Qadeer||Reserved seat|
|34||Maleeka Ali Bokhari||Reserved seat|
|35||Munawara Bibi Baloch||Reserved seat|
Earlier, Ashraf had stalled the process of accepting resignations after July 28 stating the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
However, contrary to his claims he quickened the process by accepting the resignations of 34 PTI MNAs and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid earlier this week after an eight-month hiatus.
Soon after the PTI announced its return to the assembly and test the PM through a no-trust move, the government so far accepted 70 PTI resignations during the current week only.
Around 131 MNAs of the PTI had tendered their resignations en masse after Imran Khan’s government was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April last year.
By July 28, 2022, the NA speaker had accepted the resignations of only 11 PTI lawmakers.
PTI calls govt’s move ‘illegal and immoral’
Speaking to the media outside the Parliament House, senior PTI leaders said the speaker retracted from his old stance by accepting the resignations of 35 more PTI lawmakers today.
Asad Qaiser, Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and others termed the government’s move “illegal and immoral”.
Former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser condemned the decision and revealed that Ashraf had called the PTI leaders to the assembly and told them that the resignations would not be accepted unless he had a word with the MNAs himself separately.
“Were those whose resignations were accepted called by the Speaker?”Qaiser asked.
Berating the speaker’s decision, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said now that 81 resignations were accepted, the government must also give a date for the general elections.
Expressing his displeasure over the decision, the PTI leader blamed Islamabad for the political and economic crises in the country.
“We are heading towards a Sri Lanka-like situation,” Chaudhry claimed.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the speaker first said that he cannot accept the resignations collectively.
“We decided to come to the meeting and he [the speaker] postponed it and when we came to the assembly, he accepted the resignations of 35 more MNAs,” said Qureshi, demanding that the rest of the resignations should also be accepted.
The party’s vice chairman said that the PTI wants snap polls so that the people can decide for themselves.