Opposition submits no-confidence Vote against CM Elahi in Punjab Assembly

Days before the PTI’s planned dissolution of provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a delegation of PPP and PML-N lawmakers submitted a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister on Monday night Pervaiz Elahi in the Punjab Assembly (PA).

Hassan Murtaza, the PPP’s parliamentary leader, Khawaja Imran Nazir, Tahir Khalil Sindhu, the PML-chief N’s whip, and other opposition MPs arrived at the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. They submitted the no-trust motion at 9:35 pm.

Punjab Assembly Secretary Inayat Hussain Lak formally received it

According to the opposition’s submission, “members of the PPP and the PML-N of the province parliament have lost faith in CM Pervaiz Elahi’s competence to lead the house as per the Constitution,” a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

Elahi had “massacred democratic traditions,” it said, and as a result, he had lost the support of the majority of the house members.

“Article 136 of the Constitution read with Rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure Provincial Assembly of Punjab (PAP), 1997” was the legal justification for the no-trust motion.

Article 136 states that a motion for a vote of no confidence against the chief may be passed if it is made by at least 20% of the provincial assembly’s membership.

A resolution appertained to in clause( 1) shall not be suggested before the expiration of three days, or latterly than seven days, from the day on which a similar resolution is moved in the Provincial Assembly.

still, the Chief Minister shall cease to hold office, If the resolution appertained to in clause( 1) is passed by the maturity of the total class of the Provincial Assembly.
Independently, a no-trust stir has also been submitted against PA Speaker Sibtain Khan under Article 53 of the Constitution.

PML- N’s Nazir, in an interview with ARY News after the submission, said the no-confidence stir was submitted against the chief minister, PA speaker, and deputy speaker.
He said there were autographs of “ around 150 members ” and there were further members coming from outside Lahore.

“An indigenous and legal action has been accepted after discussion from indigenous experts and we’re fully confident, ” Nazir added. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, in an interview with intelligencer Shahzeb Khanzada on Geo News, said that if a chief minister wanted to dissolve an assembly also it was necessary for him to have its confidence.

“ That’s why() moment, the Punjab governor transferred a piece of advice to the chief minister to take a confidence vote before dissolving the assembly(), and also the no-confidence stir was submitted.
Hence, the chief minister can’t dissolve the assembly without taking a vote of no- confidence, “ the innards minister added.

Punjab governor asks Elahi to seek a vote of confidence.

incontinently after the resolution was submitted, Punjab Governor Baligh ur Rehman directed Elahi to seek a vote of confidence from the assembly on December 21.
In an order, shared by the PML-N on Twitter, 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 appointment of a PTI member — namely Khayal Ahmed — to the provincial assembly without the knowledge of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

It added that the most recent evidence of “cracks between the ruling alliance” was the resignation of a cabinet member after he engaged in a “verbal spat” with Elahi.

“The chief minister has stated in a TV program on Dec 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’s criticism of Imran during an interview yesterday for the latter’s comments on former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Citing these facts, Governor Rehman said that Elahi “does not command the confidence” of the PA and subsequently summoned a session on Dec 21 at 4 pm under Section 130(7) of the Constitution for the no-trust vote against Elahi.

Section 130(7) states: “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.”

PTI leader Babar Awan said that if the government alliance had a majority then Hamza Shehbaz would not have lost the chief minister’s election.

“The mafia will get nothing but regret and defeat due to the no-confidence [motion] in Punjab this time as well. The PDM alliance can do nothing but cry to run away from the election,” he tweeted.

A way out of the ‘ quagmire ’ caused by PTI
The decision to submit the no-confidence motion against Elahi today comes as the government scrambles to find a way out of the ‘ quagmire ’ caused by PTI. Last week, Imran annunciated that the assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab where the PTI is in power — would be dissolved on Dec 23.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited PML- Q President Chaudhry Shujaat and reportedly bandied with him the option of launching sweats to invite back Elahi by offering him to continue as CM with the help of PML- N and PPP’s support after jilting PTI, Elahi’s mate in the coalition ruling Punjab.

In case the ‘ carrot ’ policy failed, also Shujaat should use his influence on his party’s( PML- Q) 10 MPAs to bar them from advancing for Elahi if and when the governor asks him to take a vote of confidence, sources privy to the development told Dawn.

latterly, former chairman Asif Ali Zardari called on PM Shehbaz at the latter’s Model Town hearthstone and bandied the outgrowth of his meeting with Shujaat.

Both sides also bandied colorful options available to them for precluding the Punjab Assembly’s dissolution. Zardari also left to meet the PML- Q chairman with some further options at his hand.

An elderly PML- N leader told Dawn that Zardari carried a new option for Elahi — abdicate as principal minister to make ineffective and infructuous the inked summary he’d handed over to Imran for the dissolution of the assembly.

This ‘ surprise ’ step would also insure that the assembly would remain complete at least until a new chief minister is tagged, he said, adding the coveted office may again be offered to Elahi or a person of his choice.

Responding to a question whether PML- N would prefer to move first a no- confidence stir against Elahi or tell the governor to ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence in case the seasoned politician from Gujrat didn’t accept the ‘ carrot ’, he said both the options would be used contemporaneously.

He explained that as in the case of a vote of confidence the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bar a high minister or chief minister from dissolving the house, they would also file a no-trust stir against the CM( as well as the speaker and deputy speaker) to strip him of the power of dissolving the assembly.

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