The Punjab Assembly turned into a battle ground on Saturday as PTI lawmakers manhandled Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari when he arrived to chair the session convened to elect the chief minister.

The lawmakers of the ruling party threw “lotas” at Mazari first, attacked him and pulled his hair despite the presence of security guards.

Mazari left the hall after the incident and reportedly suffered minor injuries.

The PTI lawmakers warned that they would not let Mazari chair the session and would resort to strong protests if the deputy speaker tried to preside over the session.

The assembly session was scheduled to start at 11:30 am but was delayed due to the absence of the PTI members.

The PTI lawmakers caused a ruckus inside the hall when they brought “lotas” to the house and started chanting “lota, lota” (turncoats) as they lashed out at dissident PTI MPAs who parted ways with the party and decided to support the Opposition.

Today’s session was convened to elect the chief minister.

Speaking outside the assembly, PML-N leader Ataullah Tarrar urged the LHC chief justice to take notice of the incident.

“We are not creating any hurdle in the proceedings of the house. We will not go until voting is held. We will wait till 12:00 midnight,” he said.

THE ELECTION: A tough competition is expected between the two candidates — Hamza Shahbaz and Pervaiz Elahi. Hamza is the joint candidate of PML-N and other coalition parties, while PML-Q’s Elahi is being backed by PTI.

The April 16 session is being held on the LHC’s order wherein it rejected Hamza’s plea to hold the early elections and restored the powers of the deputy speaker.

The deputy speaker — whose powers were withdrawn last week — was asked by the court to hold the election on April 16.

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