The governor of Pakistan's Punjab has asked Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to seek a vote of confidence from the provincial Assembly on December 21, hours after a no-trust move was submitted against him by the Opposition to foil ex-premier Imran Khan's plan of dissolving the House.
Pakistan's ousted prime minister Mr. Khan on Saturday made the much-awaited announcement that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will dissolve their provincial Assemblies on December 23 to push the PML-N-led coalition government in the Centre to call for fresh elections.
In an address to the nation via a video link from his Lahore residence where the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Ministers were also present by his side, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman said only fresh elections can steer the country out of the economic crisis.
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According to a notification issued late on Monday night, Punjab governor Baligur Rehman summoned the Assembly session on Wednesday at 4 p.m. (local time), directing Chief Minister Mr. Elahi to obtain a vote of confidence in terms of Article 130(7) of the Constitution.
The governor's announcement came immediately after a delegation of opposition lawmakers submitted the no-trust motion against Mr. Elahi.
Mr. Elahi has to make sure that he manages to secure 186 votes in the House on Wednesday to secure his position. If he fails to secure the vote of confidence, he would lose the power to dissolve the Assembly.
The document submitted by the opposition lawmakers stated that “members of the PPP and the PML-N of the provincial Assembly have lost confidence in CM Pervaiz Elahi’s ability to lead the house as per the Constitution”.
It added that Mr. Elahi had “massacred democratic traditions” and thus he had lost the confidence of the majority of members of the House, the Dawn newspaper reported. Separately, a no-trust motion has also been submitted against PA Speaker Sibtain Khan under Article 53 of the Constitution, it said.
“The Chief Minister has stated in a TV programme on December 4 that he is not going to dissolve the provincial Assembly until March 2023, a position which is completely at odds with the PTI’s public opinion on the issue,” it said.
In the backdrop of Mr. Elahi’s recent interview in which he strongly criticised Mr. Khan for targeting former Pakistan army chief General (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa and the ensuing trust deficit between the PTI and PML-Q, it is being predicted that a major surprise is in store for Mr. Khan's PTI party.
Since Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman and former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari are active in political manoeuvring in Punjab, it is uncertain whether all PTI or PML-Q lawmakers turn up on December 21 to vote for Mr. Elahi.
Mr. Khan has said there is no change in his plan to dissolve both Assemblies.
Mr. Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a U.S.-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
The former cricketer-turned-politician, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
He alleged that the no-confidence vote was part of a U.S.-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan. The U.S. has denied the allegations.