LAHORE: The regime change in Islamabad has made the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s task of wooing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf dissidents and independents for the Punjab chief minister’s election difficult.

It is now planning to file a petition in the Lahore High Court on Monday (today) to seek a restraining order against dissident MPAs, stopping them from voting in violation of party instructions under Article 63A(1) of the Constitution.

“The restraint order can help reduce the joint opposition numbers in the Punjab Assembly for the April 16 election,” hopes a PML-Q leader.

The PML-N on the other hand believes the clause wouldn’t apply to the dissidents since they won’t be voting against a candidate from their own party.

Restraining order may be sought to stop dissidents from taking part in vote

Earlier in the day, Mr Elahi received a call from former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan and discussed in detail the current political situation and other issues.

A PML-Q leader, who is on the team in talks with the dissidents, told Dawn that the party was in contact with all PTI dissidents and was confident enough that it would complete its numbers and not let the PML-N show majority in the CM election.

A PTI leader said those who had defied their party line in the ‘sham’ election of Hamza Shehbaz at a local hotel the other day would be disqualified by the court and their political career would be over.

Former Punjab minister and now Parvez Elahi’s spokesman Fayyazul Hassan Chohan would be approaching the Lahore High Court to seek orders to restrain the dissident MPAs from voting against party line.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Chohan said the PML-N’s claim of having support of 200 MPAs in the Punjab Assembly was a white lie and an attempt to mislead MPAs. “Parvez Elahi has 189 MPAs on his side,” he claimed.

He said the PTI dissidents would not be counted if they voted against the party.

Condemning ‘horse-trading’ at the Centre and in Punjab, the spokesman said the PML-N had roped in PTI dissidents and was shifting them to hotels. “This is an act of desecrating democracy,” he said.

PTI leader and former health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said notices had been issued to 24 dissidents and a reference was being prepared against them for submission to the Punjab Assembly speaker and the Election Commission of Pakistan for their disqualification.

Speaking to Dawn, a dissident MPA said it would not be possible to persuade the dissidents to vote for the PML-Q in the changed scenario in Islamabad.

He said the PML-Q had already faced a setback as its plan to change the Punjab chief secretary and inspector general of police could not materialise and the civil bureaucracy was now siding with the PML-N.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2022

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