–Speaker and deputy speaker will be elected on Aug 16, while election for CM will be held on Aug 17
–PML-N nominates Hamza Shehbaz for chief minister, Chaudhry Iqbal for PA speaker’s office
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has nominated Hamza Shehbaz for the position of opposition leader in case he loses the election for chief minister, as the MPAs-elect of the Punjab Assembly will take oath of their offices on Wednesday.
The party’s parliamentary committee unanimously chose Hamza for the CM slot and Chaudhry Iqbal as Punjab Assembly speaker in a meeting late on Monday. Both names have been formally announced.
According to media reports, Shehbaz Sharif wanted to nominate Hamza for the slot of opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly and had sought Nawaz Sharif’s approval during his meeting with the incarcerated former premier at Adiala jail on Thursday.
“There has been a debate in the party, especially the Nawaz camp, which is not in favour of Hamza as the opposition leader slot since his father has already been nominated as the joint candidate of opposition for the post of prime minister. The father in the Centre and son in Punjab may earn a lot of flak within and outside the party. Shehbaz, however, does not want to leave the party reins in Punjab to someone else and finally his decision prevailed,” a PML-N insider told a local media outfit.
The source further claimed that Chaudhry Iqbal, who served a minister in the Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s cabinet (2002-07) in Punjab, had been pitched against PTI-PML-Q joint candidate Elahi (on the speaker’s slot) hoping to intact his party (PML-N) as well as to attract the rival party’s votes. Elahi whom PML-N fears that he may cause fissures in the PML-N is favourite to bag more votes than the chief minister because of his roots in the rival party.
“The former chief minister (Elahi) has been in contact with those PML-N and PPP MPAs-elect who have good relations with him. They have given their words to him that they will give him vote,” the source said. The speaker and deputy speaker elections are held on secret vote. The PPP has already declared that it would not vote for PML-N candidates.
In the 371-member Punjab Assembly, the PTI is leading with 179 seats followed by the PML-N with 164 seats, the PML-Q with 10 seats and the PPP with seven seats. There are four independent candidates in the provincial legislature. At least 186 votes are required to win the chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker slots.
The speaker and deputy speaker will be elected on August 16, while the election for the CM will be held a day after on August 17.
On Monday, the inaugural session of the KP Assembly commenced with PML-N leader Sardar Aurangzeb Nalota presiding over the swearing-in ceremony. Nalota was appointed by the K-P governor after Asad Qaiser took the oath in the National Assembly.
After an uncalled for delay, the first session of the 11th Balochistan Assembly commenced with 62 of 65 members taking oath. Speaker Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani administered the oath to the newly-elected members.
Sindh Assembly MPAs also took oath on Monday. Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani administered the oath to 165 members on the occasion.