A Punjab Assembly official was reportedly taken into custody by police on Sunday ahead of today’s hurriedly called session.

A spokesperson for the Punjab Assembly confirmed the arrest of Secretary Coordination Rai Mumtaz.

In a statement, the spokesperson said that “police entered Rai Mumtaz’s home by scaling the walls. Police also conducted a raid at the home of Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti and Director General (Parliamentary Affairs & Research) Inayatullah Lak but were unable to arrest them.”

Rai Mumtaz – file

Meanwhile, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi condemned the police action and claimed that it was being carried out on the orders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He also termed the government’s actions “fascist”.

“After violating the sanctity of the House, the government is using new tactics,” he said, adding that the action against officials of the Punjab Assembly was proof that the government was “panicking”.

“The unconstitutional and fake government is taking steps against the Constitution and law,” he stated, adding that the “true face” of the Sharifs had been unmasked before the people.

Elahi, while referring to PM Shehbaz and Chief Minister Hamza, said “the father-son duo are doing this to the assembly because they have less numbers.”

Meanwhile, the speaker urged the MPAs to reach the assembly by 12 due to security situation around the PA.

The administration closed the doors of the assembly while barbed wires were placed in front of the building. Assembly staff said that even they are not allowed to enter.

“The assembly will surely meet today. Let’s see who stops the elected MPAs from entering the assembly,” Elahi said, adding that they will face the government’s fascism firmly.

SPEAKER CALLS SESSION: On Saturday, Elahi rescheduled the assembly session from May 30 to May 22 (today), after 25 dissident PTI MPAs who had voted for Hamza Shehbaz for chief minister’s office against their party direction were de-seated.

Though no formal agenda was issued till Saturday evening, the swift action by Speaker Elahi shows the numbers game now suits him for his run-off election as chief minister.

The assembly’s current strength has reduced to 346 members after the de-seating of the 25 MPAs. The PML-N has 165 MPAs of whom five Sharaqpuri group members recently withdrew their support. Besides the backing of its 160 MPAs, the PML-N has seven PPP MPAs, four independents and one Rah-i-Haq Party MPA on its side. This shows PML-N has 172 votes.

On the other hand, Elahi’s PML-Q and his ally PTI have a total strength of 168, but the PTI-PML-Q alliance believes they will get all the five women and minority seats whereas the PML-N claims two reserved seats will come to it.

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