The Punjab Assembly session — which was urgently held Sunday after being brought forward from May 30 to May22 — has been postponed minutes after it started Sunday, SAMAA TV reported.
However, during the session that lasted only a few minutes, the no-confidence motion against Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi was declared ineffective on technical grounds.
SAMAA TV’s Asim Naseer reported that while majority of lawmakers were still outside the assembly hall, the proceeding on the motion was started by a panel of chair constituted by assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) assembly member from Multan Waseem Khan Baodzai who was heading the panel called for the motion against Elahi to be read out.
According to the constitution, before a no-confidence motion is voted upon, the lawmaker who submitted the motion has to read it out on the house’s floor.
Since PML-N’s Samiullah Khan, who moved the motion, was not present inside the house, the motion was declared ineffective after which Badozai postponed the session June 6.
Talking to media, Khan said while his name was called inside the house, he was stopped outside the assembly gates, along with other lawmakers.
He added that the motion was dismissed even before the PML-N lawmakers could arrive in the hall.
After the motion was rendered ineffective, PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sindhu told the media that the party will submit a new no-confidence motion against Elahi on Sunday.
Sindhu said there was no restrictions on how soon a new motion against the speaker could be submitted and the party was prepared to submit a new motion within five minutes.
Sindh later submitted another no-trust motion against Elahi.
Police take controls outside PA after session rescheduled
The Sunday’s session was rescheduled from May 30, with PTI and PML-Q leaders hoping to get the motion against Elahi dismissed in the light of the election commission’s decision against the dissident lawmakers, SAMAA TV reported.
However, early Sunday morning, the police surrounded the assembly and took over the building’s control. Both the government and the opposition lawmakers and assembly officials were denied entry and even the media was stopped from covering the session.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) lawmakers alleged they were stopped on Elahi’s orders, while PTI and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) lawmakers said police stopped them on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz.
Talking to SAMAA TV before the session, Elahi said Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif were scared after the de-seating dissident Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers for voting in favor of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab chief minister election on April 16.
Elahi said the police raided and ransacked the homes of the assembly officials and harassed family members.
“We will see who stops the members from entering,” Elahi said.
He warned the Punjab police chief and chief secretary of grave consequences, adding that the assembly had already passed a law to punish officers bringing disrepute to the assembly member’s privilege with three-month jail time.
The ruling PML-N alleges that most of the assembly staff was recruited by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi from his native Gujrat and were loyal to him. They party also claims that massive irregularities were found in the hiring.
Punjab Assembly officer arrested
Early Sunday morning, the police arrested Punjab Assembly Secretary Coordination Rai Mumtaz from his house, SAMAA TV’s Mohsin Bilal reported.
Punjab Assembly spokesperson claimed the police also raided the houses of Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti and Secretary Coordination Inayatullah Lak but failed to arrest them.
On May 20, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-seated 25 MPAs of the Punjab Assembly for voting in favor of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab chief minister election on April 16.
However, the MPAs in question have escaped lifetime disqualification, SAMAA TV reported.
The ECP decision came in wake of a ruling by a larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a presidential reference about the interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution. The apex court had declared that the vote of defecting lawmakers would not be counted in the final tally.