Opposition submits no-confidence motion against CM Elahi in Punjab Assembly – Pakistan

Days before the PTI’s planned dissolution of provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a delegation of PPP and PML-N lawmakers submitted on Monday night a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi in the Punjab Assembly (PA).

Opposition lawmakers, including PPP Parliamentary Leader Hassan Murtaza, PML-N’s Khawaja Imran Nazir, Chief Whip of PML-N Tahir Khalil Sindhu, and others reached the Punjab Assembly Secretariat and submitted the no-trust motion at 9:35pm.

It was formally received by Punjab Assembly Secretary Inayat Hussain Lak.

The document submitted by the opposition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that “members of the PPP and the PML-N of the provincial assembly have lost confidence in CM Pervaiz Elahi’s ability to lead the house as per the Constitution”.

It added that Elahi had “massacred democratic traditions” and thus he had lost the confidence of the majority of members of the house.

The no-trust move was moved under “Article 136 of the Constitution read with Rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure Provincial Assembly of Punjab (PAP), 1997”.

According to Article 136, a resolution for a vote of no-confidence moved by not less than twenty per cent of the total membership of the provincial assembly may be passed against the chief minister by the provincial assembly.

A resolution referred to in clause (1) shall not be voted upon before the expiration of three days, or later than seven days, from the day on which such resolution is moved in the Provincial Assembly.

If the resolution referred to in clause (1) is passed by a majority of the total membership of the Provincial Assembly, the Chief Minister shall cease to hold office.

Separately, a no-trust motion has also been submitted against PA Speaker Sibtain Khan under Article 53 of the Constitution.

PML-N’s Nazir, in an interview with ARY News after the submission, said the no-confidence motion was submitted against the chief minister, PA speaker, and deputy speaker.

He said there were signatures of “around 150 members” and there were more members coming from outside Lahore.

“A constitutional and legal action has been undertaken after consultation from constitutional experts and we are completely confident,” Nazir added.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, in an interview with journalist Shahzeb Khanzada on Geo News, said that if a chief minister wanted to dissolve an assembly then it was necessary for him to have its confidence.

“That is why […] today, the Punjab governor sent a piece of advice to the chief minister to take a confidence vote before dissolving the assembly […], and then the no-confidence motion was submitted.

Hence, the chief minister can’t dissolve the assembly without taking a vote of no-confidence,“ the interior minister added.

announced that the assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — where the PTI is in power — would be dissolved on Dec 23.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat and reportedly discussed with him the option of re-launching efforts to woo back Elahi by offering him to continue as CM with the help of PML-N and PPP’s support after ditching PTI, Elahi’s partner in the coalition ruling Punjab.

In case the ‘carrot’ policy failed, then Shujaat should use his influence on his party’s (PML-Q) 10 MPAs to bar them from voting for Elahi if and when the governor asks him to take a vote of confidence, sources privy to the development told Dawn.

Later, former president Asif Ali Zardari called on PM Shehbaz at the latter’s Model Town residence and discussed the outcome of his meeting with Shujaat.

Both sides also discussed various options available to them for preventing the Punjab Assembly’s dissolution. Zardari then left to meet the PML-Q president with some more options at his hand.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that Zardari carried a new option for Elahi — resign as chief minister to make ineffective and infructuous the signed summary he had handed over to Imran for the dissolution of the assembly.

This ‘surprise’ step would also ensure that the assembly would remain intact at least until a new chief minister is elected, he said, adding the coveted office may again be offered to Elahi or a person of his choice.

Responding to a question whether PML-N would prefer to move first a no-confidence motion against Elahi or tell the governor to ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence in case the seasoned politician from Gujrat did not accept the ‘carrot’, he said both the options would be used simultaneously.

He explained that as in the case of a vote of confidence the Constitution does not explicitly bar a prime minister or chief minister from dissolving the house, they would also file a no-trust motion against the CM (as well as the speaker and deputy speaker) to strip him of the power of dissolving the assembly.

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