A no-confidence motion submitted by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) against Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi was “declined” on Sunday due to the “absence” of the PML-N lawmakers in the assembly.

The session that convened with Panel of Chairperson member Wasim Badozai in the chair, started after much delay, lasted for only 12 minutes and only one item of agenda, i.e. the no-trust vote, against Elahi was taken up.

As the session began, the PTI members sat on the treasury benches despite losing the office of the chief executive to PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz last month whereas the PML-N lawmakers were not present in the house owing to a “lack of strategy” on the issue. Resultantly, the PML-N faced a setback as the mover of the motion, Samiullah Khan, was not available despite multiple summons from Badozai who was presiding over the session. Subsequently, Badozai “declined” the no-confidence motion against the speaker.

“The motion is declined,” he said as he adjourned the session till June 6.

Earlier in the day, the gates of the buildings were sealed off by the Punjab Police with lawmakers who came to attend the session being locked outside of the assembly. However, after protests by the PML-N and PTI lawmakers, the gates were opened and lawmakers were allowed inside.

It has not been confirmed yet as to who had issued these instructions, but the PML-N lawmakers believed that these orders were issued by Elahi as “only the speaker has the authority to make such decisions”.

In a video, a lawmaker could be heard saying that whoever issued these orders to seal the assembly, the speaker or the secretary, committed an illegal act.

Elahi accused the chief minister of sealing the assembly and said that Hamza should “sit at home as he knows he has lost the majority in the house.”

He said the assembly was sealed because Hamza knew that his “government had ended” in the province.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers belonging to the PML-N had accused Elahi of sealing the assembly to create a “constitutional crisis” in the province that would “eventually benefit” his party and the PTI.

It may be noted that the government officials, including Assistant Commissioner Adnan Rashid, were barred from entering the Assembly Secretariat as only MPAs are allowed to access the area. However, the media and other officials were allowed to enter the assembly area.

The deployment of the police force on the premises of the house came a day after Elahi changed the date of the session from May 30 to May 22.

Elahi made the decision after the de-seating of the 25 lawmakers of the PTI that had voted for Hamza Shehbaz in the elections for the seat of the Punjab CM.

The probability for Elahi, a joint candidate of the PTI-PML-Q alliance for the CM post, to become the chief minister, especially after the de-seating of dissident MPAs, has considerably increased. However, the PML-N is sure of retaining the top slot of the chief minister.

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