Lawmakers reach PA as clock ticks closer to crucial CM vote

Neck-and-neck competition expected as both PML-N and PTI claim having majority: ECP issues victory notification of ‘N’ candidate from Rawalpindi: Maryam lashes out at Imran for nominating Elahi: Ruling coalition meets today ahead of vote: PA deputy speaker seeks security: PTI female lawmaker claims receiving threatening messages : Hamza says expecting good from God: Corona-hit Uzma Qadri shows up

By: News Desk
Published: 11:04 AM, 22 Jul, 2022
Lawmakers reach PA as clock ticks closer to crucial CM vote
Caption: TV grab.
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A crucial session of Punjab Assembly will be held at 4pm today (Friday) to elect chief minister of the province in a run-off election, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The Punjab Assembly administrative staff has started ringing bells summoning the members for the session. 

The lawmakers from PMLN-led ruling coalition and opposition PTI and its allies reached the Punjab Assembly

The ruling alliance MPAs reached the house in buses from Royal Swiss Hotel. 

Earlier, the PTI and its allied parties’ lawmakers reached the Punjab Assembly in a caravan of five buses that left the Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore earlier. The MPs flashed victory signs when they were dismounting from the buses. 

Former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar and Ali Amin Gandapur were also part of the caravan. Besides them, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and ex-interior minister Ijaz Shah also reached the provincial assembly. 

In a presser earlier today, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar claimed that they had support of 186 members and their candidate for the slot of chief minister, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, would be able to win the election. 

However, fingers are crossed as who will get the chief ministership of the largest province of the country. The election is critical as it will determine the future course of action at Centre in case the coalition PML-N government loses Punjab’s reins. 

But both the PML-N and opposition PTI which is all buoyed up after winning 15 seats out of 20 in Punjab by-elections are claiming to have got majority in the assembly.

Yesterday, 15 newly elected PTI MPAs and three PML-N MPAs took oath to their seats. After their swearing-in, the number of seats of the PTI has been reached 178 while 10 MPAs of the Quaid League are also in alliance with it so the total strength of the opposition crossed the score of required majority in Punjab Assembly to win the chief ministership for its candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

On the other hand, the sitting government has a total strength of 180 in the House under the chief ministership of Hamza Shehbaz.

The election of the Leader of the House will be held at 4 o'clock. The preparations for the election have been completed by the Assembly Secretariat, and Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mazari will preside over the meeting.

Interestingly, PTI’s MPA Masood Majeed is abroad while Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari cannot cast his vote. So the PTI’s candidate has a total of 186 votes in the House.

On the other hand, the ruling Nawaz League’s MPAs Jalil Sharaqpuri and Faisal Niazi have resigned two days ago. By adding the newly elected four members, the number of PML-N members has reached 169. The Nawaz League also has the support of 7 members of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), 4 Independent members and 1 member of Rah-e-Haq Party, thus Hamza Shehbaz has the support of 181 members.

Pertinent to mention here that Chaudhry Nisar, who is considered close to Shahbaz Sharif has not been taken a decision yet. The PML-N is trying to convince Ch Nisar and Jalil Sharaqpuri to support Hamza Shehbaz in CM elections.

It will be a neck-and-neck competition as the coalition government is fully determined to retain Punjab chief ministership and is trying to win the favour of lawmakers.

The ruling PML-N has lodged its lawmakers in the Royal Swiss Hotel, Lahore and is closely monitoring them by dividing them into 18 groups.

The PML-N and its allied parties’ MPAs will go to the Punjab Assembly today in buses under the leadership of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.

The PML-N has imposed a permanent duty of the leaders in the hotel lobby to check the attendance of the members staying at the hotel.

On the other hand, the PTI and PML-Q lawmakers are also staying in a hotel. 

The Punjab Assembly has issued an election code for today’s session. The guests and irrelevant persons are barred from entering the assembly. 

ECP issues victory notification of PML-N candidate from Pindi 

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan today (Friday) issued notification of the victory of PML-N newly-elected member from Rawalpindi constituency of PP-7 Raja Saghir. 

Now Mr Saghir would be able to cast his vote in today’s CM election. 

The ECP on Thursday rejected the PTI candidate Shabbir Awan’s recounting petition. However, according to final result received in the early morning today after the recounting of votes by the returning officer, Raja Saghir’s count was increased by 6 votes and he bagged a total of 68,863 votes. Earlier, his vote count was 68,857. 

Independent MPA from Lodhran announces support for Hamza 

Meanwhile, an independent member of Punjab Assembly elected from Lodhran has announced his support for Hamza Shehbaz.

He said though he had not decided to join any party as yet but he would support Hamza

PTI female lawmaker claims receiving threatening messages 

After failing to buy loyalties of PTI members, the authorities have been alleged to send threatening messages to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmakers ahead of the CM election.

Reportedly, PTI MPA Saira Raza allegedly received threatening messages sent through different WhatsApp numbers. The messengers allegedly tried to blackmail the female lawmaker asking her to keep in constant contact and if she failed to obey their orders, then they would release her fake indecent photos on internet. 

 PML-N, allies meet ahead of vote

On the other hand, the provincial parliamentary party meeting of the PML-N and its allied parties will be held at 12:30pm today at the Royal Swiss Hotel.

Chief Minister Hamza will preside over the meeting. All lawmakers have been directed to ensure their attendance at the meeting. 

Hamza says expecting good from God 

While talking to media today, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz said that he had got faith in Allah and he was expecting good from God. 

When a journalist asked him about his chances to win the Punjab chief ministership, Hamza replied tactically saying ‘whatever Allah wishes’.  

Maryam lashes out at Imran for nominating Elahi 

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Friday lashed out at PTI Chief Imran Khan for not nominating a candidate for Punjab chief ministership from his own party, rather he was asking for votes for the man whom he used to call the biggest thief of Punjab. 

In her tweets, Maryam wrote: “The one who preaches freedom from slavery considers his members worse than slaves. Whom he used to call the biggest bandit of Punjab, today he is asking for votes for him. He is ready to make him the owner of 120 million people of the province. Punjab is not a ‘money gala’ which you quite often hand over to Buzdar, sometimes to Gogi, Pinky and her sons.

"The contender for making a great nation does not even have his own candidate for the chief ministership.

"There is a difference between serving Punjab and giving it on lease. In 2018, the people of Punjab gave the mandate to Nawaz Sharif, which was taken away from him through bullying and rigging. This is the province of vibrant people, not Fitna Khan's ATM.”

Deputy speaker seeks security 

Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari has written a letter to the provincial chief secretary to seek special security measures during the CM elections.

Security beefed up in Lahore 

Meanwhile, the Lahore CCPO has issued a high security alert across the city and around the Punjab Assembly building. 

CCPO Bilal Siddique Kamyana chaired a law and order meeting and instructed the police officials to increase security in Lahore, especially around Punjab Assembly

He vowed to provide full security to all lawmakers and during the assembly session. He said it was top priority of the police to maintain law and order in the city. He stated that no one would be allowed to take law in his hand.

According to Lahore police spokesperson, 4 SPs, 11 DSPs, 17 SHOs, and more than 1,400 police officials from different forces including riot, elite, and Ladies police would be deputed in the city.

Besides this, the quick response force is also on the stand-by to deal with any emergency situation. 

The CCPO also ordered to increase the patrolling of Dolphin Squad and PERO teams around the Punjab Assembly building. 

Corona-hit Uzma Qadri shows up at PA

PML-N MPA Uzma Zaeem Qadri reached the Punjab Assembly building on Friday afternoon to attend the session and vote for Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.

Usman was not expected to attend the session as she was tested positive for coronavirus a few days ago.

Surprisingly, she showed up at the assembly which reflected the urgency of the issue. Uzma was wearing full PPE kit, face shield and dark glasses when she reached at the Assembly.

Reporters Fasih Ullah, Irfan Malik, Usman Khan, Saud Butt and Umar Aslam