Politics reaches fever pitch as Buzdar resigns in favour of Elahi, BAP crosses over to opposition

Published March 28, 2022
PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (L) and Usman Buzdar. — Photo via Twitter
PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (L) and Usman Buzdar. — Photo via Twitter

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday announced PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as its candidate for Punjab chief minister after incumbent Usman Buzdar presented his resignation to the prime minister.

In a message on Twitter, the prime minister's aide on political communication, Shahbaz Gill, made the announcement.

Later, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib confirmed that Buzdar had presented his resignation to the prime minister.

Habib further said that PML-Q had decided to support the government in the no-confidence resolution submitted against PM Imran by the joint opposition.

The PML-Q also confirmed the developments in a statement, which said a delegation of the party, led by Elahi, had called on PM Imran.

According to the statement, Elahi told PM Imran during the meeting that "I will measure up to your standards" and assured the premier of the PML-Q's full cooperation.

"As allies, we will serve the nation together," the statement quoted Elahi as saying.

These big developments came less than an hour after the opposition formally tabled a no-confidence resolution against PM Imran in the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, PML-Q leader Tariq Basheer Cheema, while talking to Geo News, said he had resigned from the federal cabinet and would support the opposition in the no-confidence vote.

In his resignation letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Cheema said he was "constrained to tender my resignation with immediate effect due to the inability of the government to bring stability to the democratic institutions and resolve serious governance issue[s] in the provinces".

BAP crosses over to opposition

The Balochistan Awami Party's parliamentary leader, Nawabzada Mir Khalid Khan Magsi, addresses a press conference alongside opposition leaders in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Bilawal House media cell
The Balochistan Awami Party's parliamentary leader, Nawabzada Mir Khalid Khan Magsi, addresses a press conference alongside opposition leaders in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Bilawal House media cell

Later in the day, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — a key government ally — announced it had "accepted the opposition's invitation". The announcement was made by BAP's parliamentary leader Nawabzada Mir Khalid Khan Magsi in a press conference alongside opposition leaders Shehbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Asif Ali Zardari.

Magsi said that his party had reached the conclusion to join the opposition after consultations as they had "come with a new aim after bitter experiences in the past".

"We wanted the country to be handled in a new manner, he said, lamenting that "Balochistan has been deprived" and the party wanted the province's issues to be addressed which was why BAP had decided to support the opposition.

During the question and answer session, when asked on whose instructions had he toppled the PML-N government in Balochistan in 2018, Magsi got visibly upset at the reporter.

"On whose instructions are you asking this question?" he fired back. "Why are you scared, why don't you take the army's name? Ask me whether I did it on the army's instructions. And if I did it, so what? I did it. Is it a sin? Did I do it on the Indian Army's instructions. Do not ask pointed questions. If you will do it you will get answers in kind."

Magsi said that the history is replete with "many strange situations" but the "environment is good now". "When they are on the sidelines, you do not forgive them (the army), and when they intervene even then you don't forgive them. It is my request to leave them [alone] for some time."

PTI delegation meets MQM-P leaders

Meanwhile, a "high-level" delegation of the ruling PTI met Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders at Technology and Telecommunication Minister Aminul Haque's residence at the Parliament Lodges.

According to a statement issued by the MQM-P, the PTI delegation comprised Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi.

From the MQM-P, the party's convener, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Amir Khan Wasim Akhtar, Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Kishwer Zehra, Kanwar Naveed Jameel and Sadiq Iftikhar were present at the meeting.

No-confidence resolution against Buzdar

Earlier today, a delegation of senior lawmakers submitted the no-trust motion against Buzdar with Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti. The secretary confirmed that the motion had been submitted, adding that it would be presented to the assembly speaker according to the rules and regulations.

"Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi will take action on the no-confidence motion and requisition [notice] in accordance with the Constitution and the law," he said.

The requisition notice, a copy of which is available with Dawn, has been signed by PML-N leaders Rana Mashhood, Samiullah Khan, Mian Naseer, and others.

An official handout issued by the provincial assembly stated that 127 lawmakers had signed the no-trust motion against Buzdar while 120 had signed the requisition notice.

"As per the Constitution, the signatures of 74 members are required to requisition the provincial assembly session," Mashhood said in a video, adding that Buzdar can't dissolve the assembly once the no-trust move is submitted.


Additional reporting by Umar Farooq, Nadir Gurmani and Qazi Hassan.

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