Pakistan: Punjab assembly to pick new CM

Islamabad, April 2 : Following the acceptance of the resignation of Usman Buzdar as the chief minister of Punjab province political maneuverings escalated and was followed by immediate summoning of the Punjab Assembly session on Saturday morning for election of the new chief minister, Dawn reported. The Punjab government de-notified CM Buzdar after the acceptance of his resignation but in the same notification allowed him “to continue to hold office until his successor enters upon the office”. In an array of notifications, the provincial government also denotified all the 37 provincial ministers, five advisers to the chief minister and five special assistants to the chief minister. Bothe the PTI and the opposition claimed to have the support of provincial lawmakers to secure the much-needed 186 votes in the 371-member house to occupy chief minister’s post. The PTI and PML-Q have nominated Parvaiz Elahi while the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz forwarded the name of Hamza Shehbaz after its approval by the party supremo for the CMs post. The PTI and PML-Q held joint parliamentary meeting at the chief minister’s secretariat and claimed to have over 150 MPAs on their side, which included those belonging to the PML-N. However, PML-N leader Rana Mashhood said that there was a rift amongst PTI legislators as many of them were unhappy on how a party with only 10 MPAs could be given the CM’s slot. The PTI camp, now led by PML-Q Punjab president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, entered into deep consultations and maneuverings with MPAs across the political divide. The ruling coalition camp was buzzing with activities ranging from meeting the visitors, calling different lawmakers and seeking time for PML-Q’s top leadership visit for their assured support. The Jahangir Tareen and Chheena groups, which are the disgruntled groups of the PTI are seen as being the decisive factor in the Punjab chief executive’s election. The Chheena group, has 14 MPAs, and has extended support to the candidature of Parvez Elahi as chief minister after the latter personally visited them at group leader Ghazanfar Abbas Chheena’s residence. A PML-Q leader claimed that they have wooed as many of the 17 MPAs who were part of the Jahangir Tareen group further explaining that many of those forced to quit the Q-League to join the PTI ahead of 2018 general elections have returned. He further claimed that many of the PML-N legislators had also extended their support to Pervez Elahi in Saturday’s election. Meanwhile, four of the 165 PML-N legislators have defected and formed a group under Jalil Sharqpuri. In the 371-member Punjab Assembly, the PTI has 183 lawmakers, PML-Q 10, PML-N 165, PPP 7, five are independent and one belonging to Rah-i-Haq. ACL0914

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