It's Hamza vs Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab Assembly elects new CM today

PA session will start at 11:30 am tomorrow: Chheena group throws its weight behind PML-Q while Tareen group opts to back PML-N

By: News Desk
Published: 10:07 AM, 2 Apr, 2022
It's Hamza vs Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab Assembly elects new CM today
Caption: File photos.
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Punjab Assembly will elect leader of the house (new chief minister) on Sunday (tomorrow), same day the National Assembly will vote on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The nomination papers can be filed by 5:00 pm today.

The Punjab Assembly session which was due to start at 11:00 am was delayed for nearly four hours.

Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, who is also a candidate for the Punjab chief ministership, chaired the session on Saturday which started a little before 3:00 pm.

The Speaker announced that Sunday (tomorrow) will be the day to elect new leader of the house after which the assembly session was adjourned to meet again at 11:30 am tomorrow.

An interesting situation arose when former chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar came into the house to attend the session triggering “Goodbye Buzdar” slogans from the opposition.

A neck-and-neck competition between PML-Q leader Ch Pervaiz Elahi and PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz is going to take place in the election for Punjab chief minister tomorrow.

The slot of the chief minister fell vacant when Governor Mohammad Sarwar accepted Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s resignation on Friday afternoon. The governor hurriedly called the Punjab Assembly session at 11am to choose the new Leader of the Houser of the provincial assembly. 

However, the Punjab government though accepted Buzdar’s resignation and de-notified him also requested the latter to continue to hold the CM office until his successor steps in. 

The Punjab Assembly has issued just one-point agenda for today’s proceedings according to which the house will only choose its leader. 

According to Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti, only schedule for the election of the new leader of the house was issued. "Only schedule was released today and there will be no proceedings. No voting today," he added.

Muhammad Bhatti, however, said it’s speaker’s discretion whether he chooses to hold the vote to elect a leader of the house on Sunday or on Monday. "The speaker will take a decision in this regard," he added.

The contest between Hamza and Elahi who is backed by beleaguered ruling PTI will be tough as both sides claiming to have the support of required number of MPAs. In a 371-member house, the winning contestant must secure support of 186 members. 

The PML-Q leader has become active since last week to gather support of maximum MPAs. He contacted Cheehna group and disgruntled PTI’s group led by Jehangir Tareen (JKT). 

The Chheena group, with 14 MPAs, announced its support for Pervaiz Elahi after the latter personally visited them at group leader Ghazanfar Abbas Chheena’s residence.

Also Read: Jahangir Tareen group announces support for Hamza Shehbaz

However, the PML-N camp is also holding meetings with PTI’s disgruntled members. Yesterday, self-exiled PML-N leader Ishaq Dar tweeted that party leadership meeting with the JKT leader Jehangir Tareen remained fruitful in London and the Tareen group will support Hamza. 

However, the PML-Q camp is also digging deep and trying to reach the PML-N members with whom Pervaiz Elahi has personally been on good terms.

Also Read: PTI group announces backing Parvez Elahi

The joint opposition which was caught off guard when the governor yesterday announced to summon the Punjab Assembly session on Saturday morning, hurriedly decided to nominate Hamza as a candidate for the slot of Punjab chief ministership during the dinner reception hosted by PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira last night.

Meanwhile, the PML-N MPAs talked to media outside the Punjab Assembly building. 

MPA Azma Bukhari took a jibe at Usman Buzdar saying he was so ‘innocent’ that instead of handing in his resignation to the governor, he gave it to Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

She lashed out at government and said that it could not hold election, it’s only good enough to steal it. 

Since the governor hurriedly summoned the provincial assembly’s session today, Ms Bukhari said opposition was ready for this as it had already prepared its strategy. 

On the issue of dissident members, she reminded that 30 independent members of Punjab Assembly joined the PTI after winning elections. She held that opposition’s presence in today’s session would remain 80%. 

She stated that it would be unconstitutional if voting for the chief minister would be held today. 

Reporter Umar Aslam