Election of Punjab CM
deferred till April 6,
ruckus by opposition
and govt lawmakers

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LAHORE: A session of the Punjab Assembly (PA) was on Sunday adjourned till April 6 (Wednesday) without voting to elect the new leader of the house amid ruckus by opposition and government lawmakers.

PTI Government nominated Chief Minister of Punjab Choudhary Pervaiz Elahi

The provincial assembly was to vote today to elect the new leader of the house, with PML-Q’s PTI-backed Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz, who had secured the support of Jahangir Khan Tarin (JKT) group, expected to go head to head in the race to become the next chief minister.

Punjab Assembly

Ahead of today’s Punjab Assembly session, the press gallery of the assembly was locked, barring journalists from covering the proceedings.

The PA session took place at the same time when a National Assembly session was to vote on a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. In the end, neither of the two votes took place as the no-trust move in the NA was dismissed by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, who deemed the resolution in contradiction of Article 5 of the Constitution.

Opposition’s nominated Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Sharif

PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique deemed the adjournment of the session “unconstitutional”.

Earlier, the federal government, in a surprise move, removed Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar from his post hours before the session of the provincial assembly. He was later replaced by Omar Sarfraz Cheema, PTI’s former information secretary.

The top ministerial slot of the largest province fell vacant with the acceptance of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s resignation by Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Friday.

The Punjab government had de-notified CM Buzdar after the acceptance of his resignation but in the same notification allowed him “to continue to hold office until his successor enters upon the office”. In an array of notifications, the provincial government had also denotified all the 37 provincial ministers, five advisers to the chief minister and five special assistants to the chief minister.

Buzdar had presented his resignation to Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 28 after a delegation of senior lawmakers had submitted a no-trust motion against him with Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti on the same day.

Chief Ministership of Punjab

Punjab Assembly will witness one of the most crucial election of its history for the slot of chief minister in which Opposition Leader in PA Hamza Shehbaz Sharif is in contest with the Speaker of the House Chaudhry Parvaiz Elahi.

A very tough contest is expected between the two as both candidates need at least 186 votes in the House of 371 to win the poll for the slot of CM Punjab.

Now with the full House comprising 371 MPAs, PMLN seems highly optimistic of regaining the crown of Punjab that it lost in 2018. Opposition claims that its joint strength comprising its own 160 MPAs (PMLN total strength is 165 out of which 5 MPAs are siding with the government), 7 MPAs of PPP and rest from the rebel groups of PTI headed by Jehnagir Khan Tareen (JKT) and Abdul Aleem Khan and four out of five independents, stands above 188.