LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi has postponed the assembly session to May 30.
The 40th session of the house had earlier been convened for April 28, but the speaker put it off minutes before the start of the proceedings for May 16 without assigning any reason.
The ruling PML-N feels that Mr Elahi is making abortive attempts to avert holding of voting on a no-confidence motion against him filed on April 8. Under the law, the voting must be held within seven days and thus the process was due on April 14.
However, a constitutional crisis involving the election of the chief minister on April 16 as well as filing of a no-trust motion against deputy speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari by the opposition PTI and Mr Elahi’s PML-Q on April 7 kept the issue on the back burner.
Mr Elahi, who was a joint candidate of the PTI and PML-Q against PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the contest of the CM office but boycotted the elections after a clash with the law-enforcers helping Mr Mazari to conduct the polls on the Lahore High Court’s orders on April 16, did not summon the session immediately for taking up no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker.
Rather he kept it pending for April 28 and in the meantime pressed Mr Mazari to go on long leave and also suspended and transferred personal staff of the deputy speaker as a kind of pressure on the latter.
Minutes before the start of the session on April 28, the speaker postponed the session for May 16 and on Friday (May 13) further put it off to May 30.
PML-N leader and former deputy speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan says they are waiting for the appointment of a new governor after the removal of Omar Sarfaraz Cheema from the office to convene a session of the assembly.
He says as a summary for the appointment of a new governor has been sent to the Presidency by the prime minister six days ago, the office will be filled by Wednesday and as per the law President Alvi cannot send back the document to the PM Office.
He says they are also waiting for a decision on the review petition filed with the LHC by the opposition against the CM’s election and then they may also move the court against the delaying tactics being used by the speaker against holding of votes on the two no-trust motions.
Mr Khan says that after losing trust of the house as was evident in the CM’s election in which Hamza Shehbaz secured 197 out of 371 votes, Mr Elahi has no legal or moral justification to stay in speaker’s office.
Mr Elahi, he alleges, is making attempts to sabotage the system through his delaying tactics.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022