- Opposition claims 200 MPAs in attendance.
- Maryam Nawaz attends session.
- MPs from Tareen, Aleem groups attend session.
The Opposition’s symbolic Punjab Assembly session elected PML-N leader Hamza Shabaz as the chief minister after the government sealed off the provincial assembly.
Members from the PML-N, PPP, PTI’s Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan groups attended the session, with PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also present.
PML-N leader and MPA Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan has claimed that more than 200 MPAs are present at the hotel for the session.
After the resolution to elect Hamza as the new chief minister was accepted, the session witnessed loud chants, including “chief minister, Hamza Shahbaz”.
The Tareen and Aleem groups have parted ways with the PTI and Prime Minister Imran Khan and decided to support the Opposition’s candidate for the chief minister’s office.
The chief minister’s office had fallen vacant after PTI’s Usman Buzdar resigned following PM Imran Khan’s decision to nominate PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi as the new CM.
Weeping after witnessing the ceremony, Maryam told Geo News that her tears were the tears of victory, as she prayed for her deceased mother, Kulsoom Nawaz, who died at a hospital in London.
Meanwhile, Hamza, while talking to journalists, said it was unfortunate that the assembly session could not take place today, as he slammed Speaker Pervaiz Elahi for barring MPAs and media personnel from entering the assembly’s building.
“These people are playing with the Constitution […] they cannot understand what is happening with them in Punjab and the Centre,” Hamza told journalists, who are expected to have a tough competition with Elahi for the top slot.
The PML-N leader slammed the PTI government for derailing the economy and worsening the crisis. “The stock market is bearish, while the dollar has reached a historic high.”
Moving on, the Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly slammed the PTI-led government for imprisoning Aleem, Tareen, Maryam, and other Opposition leaders for “revenge”.
Talking to journalists alongside Hamza after the session’s conclusion, Maryam said the Opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly followed PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s ideology and would “serve” the people of the province.
“Today, Nawaz Sharif took the revenge [from the PTI government] that stole the mandate of the people of Punjab. Blood was shed to restrict PML-N from forming a government in Punjab,” Maryam told journalists.
The PML-N leader said Punjab’s people were tuned into “beggers” just for two kilogrammes of sugar. “They (PTI government) were involved in the theft of sugar, power, gas, and development.”
Maryam said she was “ashamed” after the Punjab Assembly was locked and journalists and members of the assembly were barred from entering the building.
“Come and count, the representative of 200 MPAs — Hamza Shahbaz — is present here. We have seen dictators [violate the Constitution], but Imran Khan has proved that he is the first civil dictator of Pakistan,” she said on the government sealing off the Punjab Assembly.
Usman Buzdar-Farah Khan ‘nexus’
Moreover, Maryam said despite Usman Buzdar being the chief minister, it was Farah Khan — a close friend of PM Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi — who controlled him.
“How did Farah Khan manage postings and transfers of government officials in Punjab? Whom did Farah Khan send the commissions to after the postings and transfers?” she questioned.
The PML-N leader went on to say that when the time comes, everything will be revealed.
Political crisis deepens
Meanwhile, the crisis in the Punjab Assembly deepened after the PTI filed a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari and the joint Opposition also decided to file a similar motion against Speaker Pervaiz Elahi.
The political situation took a new turn after Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari decided to summon a session today, instead of April 16 — a decision that drew the PTI and PML-Q’s ire, and they refused to accept it.
On the instructions of Elahi, a heavy contingent of police has been deployed outside the assembly secretariat to avoid any untoward situation.
Elahi also banned the entry of media persons to the provincial assembly, security staff confirmed.
The security of the provincial legislature has also put up barbed wires on the main gate of the assembly.
Speaking to Geo News earlier today, Mazari had said that the Punjab Assembly secretariat was “not cooperating” with him.
“I did not consult the Punjab government, the PTI or the speaker. I summoned the Assembly session in light of the Supreme Court’s orders,” Mazari had said.
Elahi has also withdrawn the powers of the deputy speaker.