In an attempt to stop the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from dissolving the provincial assembly, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Monday submitted a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi in Punjab Assembly.
Opposition lawmakers, including PML-N’s Mian Marghoob, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, and Khawaja Imran Nazir submitted the no-trust motion. Meanwhile, PPP Parliamentary Leader Hassan Murtaza was also present at the Punjab Assembly Secretariat.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed the development during the Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Ke Saath’.
On Saturday, deposed prime minister Imran Khan announced the dissolution of the provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 23 (Friday).
Since the announcement, the federal government was mulling ways to counter the PTI’s plan of dissolving assemblies. Earlier sources told Geo News, the PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had directed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) allies to submit the no-confidence motion against chief minister Punjab.
Immediately after the resolution was submitted by the delegation of PPP and PML-N leaders, Punjab Governor Baligh ur Rehman directed CM Elahi to seek a vote of confidence from the assembly on December 21.
According to an order, shared by the PML-N on its official Twitter handle, the governor said that the chief minister has “lost the confidence of his party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and members of his own party belonging to the PML-Q”.
“It is widely known that over the last few weeks serious differences of opinion erupted between two coalition parties of the ruling alliance in the Punjab Assembly i.e. PTI and PML-Q regarding political strategies, dissolution of the assembly, development schemes, and transfers of public officials,” it stated.
The order highlighted that the aforementioned differences became evident after the chief minister appointed a member of the assembly namely, Khayal Ahmad, to the provincial cabinet without the knowledge of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
“The most recent manifestation of cracks within the ruling alliance […] has been the resignation of one of the members of the cabinet, namely Sardar Hasnain Bahadar Dreshak, after a bitter verbal spat between him and the chief minister, during the cabinet meeting on December 16, 2022,” the document read.
“The chief minister has stated in a TV programme on December 4 that he is not going to dissolve the provincial assembly until March 2023, a position which is completely at odds with the PTI’s public opinion on the issue.”
The order also referred to CM Elahi “openly and vehemently” criticising Imran during an interview aired on December 18 for the latter’s comments on former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Citing these facts, the governor said that Elahi “does not command the confidence” of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly and subsequently summoned a session on December 21 at 4pm in the chamber under Section 130(7) of the Constitution for the no-trust vote against Elahi.
According to Section 130(7): “The chief minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the governor, but the governor shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the chief minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the provincial assembly, in which case he shall summon the provincial assembly and require the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the assembly.”
Meanwhile, Rehman will convene the crucial meeting of the provincial assembly on December 21 (Wednesday).
‘Escape from elections’
Reacting to the development, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said the no-trust motion against the CM has been submitted to “escape from elections.”
“Sanaullah and [Planning Minister] Ahsan Iqbal were asking PTI to dissolve assemblies and they [PDM] would contest elections but today they are running away,” Fawad wrote on Twitter, asserting that the PTI would not let them run.
He added that the no-trust motion “will fail and CM Elahi will dissolve the assembly. The people’s decision is final.”