LAHORE: The PML-N’s parliamentary party in Punjab on Monday decided in principle to use all ‘available tactics’ to foil the proposed plan of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to have the provincial assembly dissolved.

The announcement came after the PTI senior leadership formally decided to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies besides tendering resignations from the Sindh and Balochistan legislatures as well.

The PML-N MPAs who gathered at the party’s office in Model Town here appeared thrilled at becoming ‘relevant’ again in the face of Mr Khan’s ‘desperate’ move to push the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government in the Centre to call early elections.

Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz, who had gone into hibernation since his defeat at the hands of PTI-PML-Q candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in the chief minister’s election in July, presided over the meeting of the party’s provincial lawmakers and pledged to foil Mr Khan’s proposed plan to dissolve the assembly at ‘any cost’.

Parliamentary party considers moving no-trust resolution, governor’s rule, seeking vote of confidence from CM

The meeting discussed the prospects of tabling a no-trust move against CM Elahi, imposition of governor’s rule, the governor seeking a vote of confidence from the CM, requesting the apex court to take up Hamza’s review petition on its July decision in the Punjab CM election case etc.

After the meeting, PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari told Dawn Mr Shehbaz was going to move the apex court for early hearing of his petition against the decision in the Punjab CM’s election case.

The SC had on July 26 annulled the ruling given by the then Punjab Assembly deputy speaker Dost Mazari in the run-off election for the CM. On July 22, Mazari had rejected the votes of PML-Q MPAs in the favour of Mr Elahi during the CM’s election, citing a letter from PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain under Article 63A of the Constitution.

“We want the SC to take up this petition for early hearing informing the court that the CM at the behest of Imran Khan may dissolve the PA without any plausible reason,” MPA Bokhari said and added the opposition could bring a no-trust move against Mr Elahi and the governor ask him to take a vote of confidence, claiming there was no provision in the Constitution against these options while the assembly was in session.

“The law is being wrongly interpreted in this regard so we will use both options at an appropriate time,” she declared and added the option of governor’s rule was also discussed in the meeting. She further maintained the provincial assembly could not be dissolved as per the wishes of “one person” (Imran Khan).

Talking to journalists here, PM’s Special Assistant Attaullah Tarar said the PML-N’s Punjab parliamentary party had decided to “protect” the public mandate in a democratic way. “A resolution was adopted in the meeting vowing that the Punjab Assembly will complete its tenure, come what may. The options of governor’s rule, no-trust move against the CM and the governor seeking a no-trust vote from the CM were also discussed,” he said and questioned why Hamza’s review petition in the CM’s election case had not been taken up despite the passage of several months.

A PML-N insider told Dawn that some senior leaders had proposed that if the opposition in Punjab (PML-N and PPP) managed to table a no-trust motion or the governor asked CM Elahi to take a vote of confidence (if the law permits as the PA is in session) then PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari should be tasked with taking on board at least 10 PTI MPAs to snatch the majority from the incumbent CM.

Meanwhile, the PML-N’s provincial leadership called a meeting of the party’s advisory group and its legal brains on Tuesday (today) to finalise a strategy.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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