Lawmakers are seated in the Punjab Assembly as the session to elect a new provincial chief minister begins on Sunday.
The session, being chaired by newly elected PA Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, faced a delay as MPAs were having breakfast, PTV News reported.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Usman Buzdar ─ backed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ─ is going up against former Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif’s son, Hamza Shahbaz.
Buzdar is the favourite to win the election as the PTI has already shown its strength in elections for the post of speaker and deputy speaker in the assembly.
The chief minister will be elected through a head count. A total of 354 MPAs are expected to cast their votes in the election.
Controversy around PTI’s Buzdar
Buzdar’s nomination turned controversial when reports surfaced that the CM contender had allegedly been involved in a murder case in 1998 filed after a clash broke out during local body polls, leaving six members of the Chakarani tribe ─ a sub-clan of the Buzdar tribe ─ dead.
Although the case was sent to an anti-terrorism court, a jirga was instrumental in reaching a settlement whereby compensation money of Rs7.5 million was paid to the heirs of the deceased.
However, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was quick to defend Buzdar, saying that he had handpicked the CM nominee after “due diligence over the past two weeks” and “found him to be an honest man”.
He added that Buzdar belonged to a under-developed area of Punjab, where there is “no water, electricity or hospital”.
Buzdar, he said, is “well acquainted with how people live in those areas, and secondly, he is aware of how the poor lead their lives. When he will assume the office of the chief minister he will know the nature of the plight that faces the underprivileged people of Pakistan.”
PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry also defended Buzdar, saying the case against him had been politically motivated.
Will register protest against rigging: Hamza
Hamza Shahbaz on Sunday vowed that the PML-N would register its protest against alleged rigging in the July 25 polls ─ both on the streets and in the assemblies.
He said that his party would continue to take part in the democratic process, but vowed to prevent a ‘rigged system’ from functioning.
Hamza demanded a parliamentary commission be constituted immediately to probe the allegations, DawnNewsTV reported.
Elahi against forward bloc
Elahi, while speaking to the media on Sunday, said that he is personally against the politics of forward blocs. He reminded the opposition that they would gain nothing through agitation and accused the opposition of not walking the talk: “Hindering democratic process is not a service to democracy,” he said.
Speaker, deputy speaker polls dominated by PTI
On Thursday, PTI-backed PML-Q leader Elahi was elected speaker with 201 votes — more than expected. Elahi was up against PML-N’s Iqbal Gujar, who received 147 votes ─ 15 less than expected. The PTI-backed candidate was expected to receive 185 votes, including 10 from the PML-Q, whereas the PML-N candidate was expected to get 162 votes.
The PPP boycotted the election, with MPA Hassan Murtaza citing the “PML-N’s attitude” toward his party as the reason behind the move.
PTI’s Dost Mazari also defeated PML-N’s Waris Kalo in the contest for deputy speaker, with Mazari securing 187 votes against Kalo’s 159 votes.
Source Link: Punjab lawmakers to elect new CM shortly – Pakistan