- PTI supported Pervaiz Elahi bags 201 votes as 15 PML-N MPAs secretly vote against party’s nominee Iqbal Gujjar, fueling speculation of a forward bloc in party
- PML-N MPAs resort to sloganeering, allege ‘horse-trading’ in speaker’s election
- BAP’s Abdul Quddus Bizenjo becomes Balochistan Assembly speaker by getting 39 votes
LAHORE/QUETTA: A day after the newly-elected members of Punjab and Balochistan provincial assemblies took their oaths, a session of both the provincial assemblies on Thursday elected Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as speaker of the Punjab Assembly, while Balochistan Awami Party’s (BAP) Abdul Quddus Bizenjo secured the speaker’s slot in Balochistan Assembly.
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s election as the speaker of Punjab Assembly on Thursday pointed to a forward bloc within the already beleaguered PML-N, as 15 MPAs belonging to the former ruling party secretly voted in favour of the PML-Q president for the office.
Elahi, who had the backing from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, secured 201 votes in the election for speaker. His contender, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Chaudhry Mohammad Iqbal Gujjar, gained 147 votes despite the fact that the party has a strength of 162 in the provincial assembly.
The reports of a forward bloc were substantiated after PTI leader Mehmoodur Rasheed said they did not make a conscious effort to create a forward bloc in the rival party, rather the “PML-N friends themselves offered to cooperate”.
Elahi was expected to receive 185 votes, including 10 from his PML-Q, whereas the PML-N candidate was expected to get 162 votes.
The PPP had already said it will boycott the election for speaker and deputy speaker, with MPA Hassan Murtaza citing the “PML-N’s attitude” toward his party as the reason behind the move.
Earlier during the polling, outgoing Punjab Assembly speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal cancelled the vote cast by PTI’s Shamsa Ali for violating the code of conduct. Shamsa cast her vote after showing it to her fellows, prompting political opponents to rush to the speaker and demand that he cancel the vote.
The PML-N MPAs protested and chanted slogans during the oath-taking and election. The PML-N lawmakers had earlier boycotted the voting process for deputy speaker, alleging horse-trading in the speaker’s election, but rescinded later and cast votes for their respective candidate.
For the slot of deputy speaker, PTI’s nominated Dost Muhammad Mazari won against PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Waris Kallu. Mazari succeeded after receiving 187 votes.
Protesting against alleged horse-trading in the election, PML-N’s nominee for chief minister Hamza Shehbaz criticised PTI chief Imran Khan for “stealing PML-N’s mandate and resorting to horse-trading to facilitate their candidates’ victories”.
“We will not let anyone rob our mandate and will give a tough time to them in the assembly,” he vowed.
Elahi, after taking oath of his new office, expressed his gratitude to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the party members for nominating and supporting him for the post.
“I will run the house efficiently. It’s time to show performance. We have to stop those who violate the sanctity of vote,” he said. “People will see our performance.”
Later, while addressing reporters after the election of deputy speaker, Elahi said the PML-N’s claims of horse-trading did not suit the party.
“There was no horse-trading in the two elections and reports of formation of a forward bloc in the PML-N are also false. The PML-N is reaping what it sowed in the 2008 general election,” he said.
Meanwhile in Balochistan, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo won the post of Balochistan Assembly speaker after securing 39 votes.
Following Bizenjo’s election as the speaker, the Balochistan Assembly voted to elect the deputy speaker, which was won by PTI candidate Sardar Babar Musa Khel.
The Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and its allies had nominated Bizenjo for the post of Balochistan Assembly speaker while the PTI had nominated Sardar Babar Musa Khel for the position of deputy speaker.
The opposition that consists of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), had nominated Mohammad Nawaz Khan for the post of speaker, while Ahmed Nawaz was nominated for the post of deputy speaker.
The Balochistan Assembly session commenced at 3pm and was presided over by outgoing speaker Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani. She also administered the oath to the newly elected speaker, who in turn conducted the election for the deputy speaker and administered the oath to him.