A session of the Punjab Assembly is being convened on Thursday (today) at 11.30 am to take up a no-confidence resolution against its deputy speaker Dost Mazari.

The PML-N, the PPP and the PTI dissident lawmakers have decided to support Mazari to return his ‘favour’ during the election of the chief minister.

“There is only one-point agenda of Thursday’s session and it is a resolution against the deputy speaker. The PTI needs the support of 186 lawmakers for the success of the motion,” a senior PA official said.

The voting will be held through a secret ballot. Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi will convene the session. “Since the PTI and PML-Q will have to gather 186 votes to oust the deputy speaker, the PML-N, PPP and PTI dissidents may not take part in the voting process,” a PML-N lawmaker said.

During the session, no MPA would be allowed to take his/her mobile phone in the House. Women lawmakers have been barred from carrying their handbags on the floor, besides guests will not be allowed to witness Thursday’s session. Strict security arrangements have also been made.

PTI MPAs Basharat Raja, Ahmad Khan, Sibtain Khan and Murad Raas submitted the no-confidence resolution under clause 7(c) of Article 53 of the Constitution read with Article 127 and under Rule 12 of the Rules of the Procedure of the Punjab Assembly for the removal of Dost Muhammad Mazari from the office of the deputy speaker.

On the other hand, PML-N parliamentary and PTI dissident lawmakers held a joint meeting to chalk out a strategy for Thursday’s PA session. Of the 197 votes Hamza polled to become the CM, 26 were from the PTI’s dissidents belonging to the Tareen, Aleem and Asad Khokhar groups.

“The PML-N, PPP and PTI’s dissident lawmakers have decided to support Mazari to foil the resolution against him,” a PML-N MPA said after the meeting on Wednesday.

In its last meeting on April 16, the Punjab Assembly had witnessed unprecedented violence leaving many injured, including Speaker Elahi and PTI MPA Asia Amjad. The House, however, ended up electing Hamza Shehbaz, leader of the opposition in the House and the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, as the chief minister amid a boycott by PTI and PML-Q lawmakers.

Mazari, who was allegedly roped in on his side by Hamza ahead of the election, had initiated the assembly proceedings from a guest lobby in the hall over a megaphone and read out the agenda and rules for the election of the chief minister. Police and anti-riot forces had taken positions inside the House, while women MPAs sat over the speaker’s dais and chanted slogans.

Speaker Elahi had claimed that all the powers delegated to the deputy speaker were void as soon as the Punjab Assembly session ended on April 16.

PA Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti said the deputy speaker called the deputy commissioner and the operations deputy inspector general of police, who summoned a heavy contingent of law enforcers despite the fact that only the sergeants-at-arms had the powers to step on the floor of the House.

“Mazari conducted the election process from the Officers’ Box with a megaphone, which was contrary to the assembly rules and procedures,” he maintained.

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