LAHORE: A good number of MPAs belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have claimed that Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has lost the support of a majority of members, making it binding on him to take a vote of confidence.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has said its Punjab parliamentary party would meet on Jan 2 to decide whether CM Chaudhry Parvez Elahi should take a vote of confidence before Jan 11 — the date when the Lahore High Court is due to hold its next hearing on the Punjab government’s plea against the governor’s ‘unconstitutional’ order to remove the chief minister and his cabinet.

“The Punjab PTI’s parliamentary party is meeting in Lahore on Jan 2 to decide the date when CM Elahi should take a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly,” Fawad Chaudhry, a party leader, told Dawn on Wednesday.

In reply to a question whether the chief minister would go for a trust vote after the court’s hearing on Jan 11, the former information minister said: “The chief minister has to take a vote of confidence before or after Jan 11 (as per legal requirement). So we will go for it and the chief minister will manage to secure the required 186 votes.”

Baligh asks MPAs to ‘brace for run-off election’

During the meeting with Balighur Rehman on Wednesday, some 15 PML-N lawmakers were of the unanimous opinion that the governor’s constitutional order asking the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence was justified.

“The governor told the lawmakers to brace for a run-off election as the chief minister won’t be able to take the vote of confidence,” a participant of the meeting told Dawn.

He said the PML-N camp was “very excited” about its prospects of forming a government in Punjab. He claimed that “some PTI MPAs” were in touch with the PML-N and the ruling Punjab coalition should be ready for a surprise when the chief minister went for a vote of confidence.

The PTI is believed to be keeping an eye on “some Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan sympathisers” among its MPAs. There are reports that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has spoken to both leaders in this regard.

As PTI chairman Imran Khan reportedly wants the chief minister to take the trust vote before Jan 11, some lawmakers of the provincial ruling coalition have suggested it should first wait till the LHC verdict on the question whether the governor’s order to summon a session during an ongoing session as well as denotifying the chief minister was valid or not.

Although PM Sharif recently hinted at moving the Supreme Court against the restoration of Mr Elahi as chief minister by the LHC, he has yet to take a decision.

Last week, the LHC had suspended the governor’s order denotifying the chief minister and restored Mr Elahi as chief minister on an assurance that the assembly would not be dissolved, at least until the next date of hearing (Jan 11).

Moonis Elahi. a PML-Q leader who has been in touch with Imran Khan over the coalition’s affairs, asserted on Wednesday that the PML-N would face yet another humiliation in the Punjab Assembly as the chief minister would be able to secure the vote of confidence.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2022

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