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Hamza Shehbaz re-elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab

Hamza Shehbaz managed to secure a victory in the Chief Minister election held today in Punjab Assembly with 179 votes as 10 votes of PMLQ in favor of Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi were rejected by deputy speaker of Punjab assembly Dost Mazari citing the supreme court decision.

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No candidate was able to secure 51% majority or 186 votes as 10 votes of PMLQ were rejected. Discounting the 10 votes of PMLQ casted in favor of Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi, Ilahi lagged the number game by 3 votes as he was able to secure 176 votes while Hamza Shehbaz, joint candidate of PDM, secured 179 votes.

The session of the Punjab Assembly was shrouded in mystery and conspiracies till the very last minute, as the political temperature remained high in the province. At the very last moment, Asif Ali Zardari was able to persuade PMLQ supremo Chaudhry Shujaat to withdraw his party’s support from PTI’s candidate Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. As a result, the number-game in the provincial assembly became unclear, all eyes were on the 10 votes of the MPAs of PMLQ as they were a deciding factor in today’s election. All 10 MPAs of PMLQ casted their vote in favor of Pervez Ilahi, a joint candidate of PTI and PMLQ, however, these votes were rejected by the Deputy Speaker Mazari. Dost Mazari cited Supreme Court’s decision regarding the turncoats as the basis of his ruling.

According to the decision of the Supreme Court, defection from the decision of parliamentary leader of a party is not allowed, and vote of any member of parliament defecting from the decision of parliamentary party leader is not to be considered.  “It is our view that the vote of any member (including a deemed member) of a Parliamentary Party in a House that is cast contrary to any direction issued by the latter in terms of para (b) of clause (1) of Article 63A cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the Party Head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection”, the decision of the Supreme Court reads. Here it must be noted that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is not a part of the Parliamentary Party as he is not a part of the parliament though he is the chief of the overall party.

Moonis Elahi, sharing an official document, tweeted that it was decided in the parliamentary committee meeting of PMLQ held on Thursday, chaired by parliamentary party leader Sajid Bhatti that Parvez Elahi will be the party’s candidate for the post of Chief Minister.

Since, according to Supreme Court’s ruling all MPAs of a political party are bound to cast their vote in accordance with the directions issued by the parliamentary committee of a party, therefore, Chaudhry Shujaat’s directions are irrelevant in the proceedings of the provincial assembly and defection clause cannot be invoked against PMLQ MPAs who voted in favor of Pervez Ilahi.

The crucial session of the provincial assembly was purportedly deliberately delayed for about three hours, despite clear orders from the Supreme Court to begin it at 4pm. The attempt was a part of the last-minute efforts by Pakistan Democratic Alliance to maintain the status-quo in Punjab by re-electing Hamza Shehbaz as the chief minister of the most populous province.

Read More: Punjab Assembly crucial session couldn’t start on time

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain faced strong criticism from within the party as party workers gathered outside his residence to protest his decision and called him out for being a turncoat.

Today was a tense and critical day in the history of Punjab, democracy lost as the Chief Minister was elected against the aspirations of the people who had made their choice clear in the recent by-polls in Punjab, in which PTI won 15 of the 20 contested seats of the provincial assembly.

PTI and PMLQ (Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi’s camp) has taken it to the streets as thousands of their supporters have gathered in the Liberty Chowk and outside Punjab Assembly to protest the ruling of the deputy speaker.

All eyes are now set on the Supreme Court to protect and uphold the constitution of Pakistan, as the country is in a grip of a prolonged constitutional crisis.

Imran Khan has given a call to peaceful protest against the travesty of democracy. “All eyes are on the Supreme Court now”, Imran Khan said while addressing the nation. He further said that he was well-aware of Zardari’s scheme to use money to subdue democracy. He clarified that it is the prerogative of the parliamentary leader of a political party to decide the vote of its parliamentarians, and Sajid Bhatti is the parliamentary leader of PMLQ, not Chaudhry Shujaat.

PTI has decided to file a petition in the supreme court tonight, so that action can be taken as soon as possible.

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