Parvez Elahi gets vote of confidence after chaotic session

Chief Minister Parvez Elahi won the vote of confidence vote in the Punjab Assembly by getting 186 votes after the opposition boycotted the process in protest after tearing up the agenda copies in a session that began on Wednesday and ended in the early hours of Thursday.

He went for vote of confidence after the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday that the governor had the authority to ask the chief minister to seek the trust of the house even during an ongoing session and he must enjoy the majority support round the clock.

Even though Interior Minister Rana Sanauallah had earlier claimed that at least seven PTI MPAs were abroad as per travel records, two PTI MPAs – Amer Chandia from Rahim Yar Khan and Ammar Yasir from Chakwal – were transported to Lahore late on Wednesday night, enabling the ruling coalition to somehow touch the magical figure of 186.

The members expressed their support on a resolution moved by PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal and Raja Basharat of PML-Q.

The opposition boycotted the session, claiming that the pre-requisite legal requirements were not met and that Punjab Governor Baligh-Ur-Rehman’s order of vote of confidence was sub-judice.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah — talking to journalists outside the assembly — said some lawmakers from the treasury benches were not in the country, but still, the PTI claimed that their MPAs attended the session. “Therefore, we will present all their travel records and relevant documents in the court tomorrow (Thursday).”

After his victory, Parvez thanked the leaders of PTI, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM), and Bilawal Warraich for supporting him during today’s session.

The chief minister slammed the PML-N for its “hue and cry” and asked the party to accept defeat. “I stand with Imran Khan’s vision and we have restricted thieves to their homes now.”

The chief minister also thanked his legal team for proving that the governor’s orders to de-notify him were “illegal”.

“I thank Allah that I received 186 votes. Today, PML-N literally received a ‘surprise’ that they did not expect,” he remarked and added, “There is only one leader: Imran Khan.”

Following the session, PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry said that if there were no hindrances going forward then the party would move towards dissolving the assembly.

Opposition’s protest

Before the opposition’s walkout, ruckus was witnessed in the House during the third consecutive session, with the PML-N members chanting slogans against the provincial government. At one point, the lawmakers even exchanged blows.

The unprecedented session, which was marred by a noisy opposition protest, saw lawmakers breaking furniture in frustration and shouting slogans to antagonise their opponents.

As the chants got louder, the speaker said: “Opposition members should remain in their seats. Your senior leadership knows about your protest”

“I’m saying for the 15th time, take your seats. Else I’ll take action according to the Constitution,” he said warning opposition lawmakers as Raja Basharat tried to convince the opposition to calm down.

PML-N MPA Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, on a point of order, said the chair was violating the rules by not circulating copies of the fresh agenda among members as well as the press gallery.

He also protested that the speaker had not appointed polling agents – both from the treasury and the opposition – for a fair count of the MPAs supporting Mr Elahi as CM and thus passing through the ‘Ayes’ gate.

As the speaker did not accept the opposition’s point of view, the latter resorted to raising anti-government and anti-Parvez Elahi slogans, tore down copies of the agenda and threw chairs towards the dais of Sibtain Khan, who was surrounded by a protective cordon of treasury members.

As a result, the members from the opposition parties boycotted the process and walked out of the House.

Imran accuses PML-N and PPP of bribing

Earlier on Wednesday evening, PTI Chairman Imran Khan alleged that his party members and allies were threatened to join the PML-N. “Our members were tempted with money.”

He also claimed that PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari could not go among the masses and he “came to Lahore for trading”.

“I am proud of our members from Punjab. They have rejected Zardari and it was an utter failure for him,” the PTI chief said and added that Zardari should be thanked because he helped the party get cleansed from the black sheep.

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