Punjab Assembly stands dissolved, KP Assembly likely to be dissolved today

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly stood dissolved Saturday night while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly would follow suit as per the commitment made by the KP Chief Minister.

The Punjab Assembly stood dissolved as Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman excused himself from signing the summary, saying he could not become a part of the move.

“I would rather let the Constitution and law take its own course. Doing so will not hamper any legal process as Constitution clearly provides a way forward,” he tweeted.

Ahead of Punjab Assembly dissolution, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman and other federal ministers Saturday met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the premier’s residence in Lahore’s Model Town. The meeting deliberated upon whether to dissolve Punjab Assembly.

Sources in the ruling party said that after the dissolution of provincial assembly, CM Elahi will unanimously decide the name of caretaker chief minister in consultation with opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz within three days.

They said that the caretaker CM will be sworn in if both leaders agree on a name. However, if they don’t then the matter will be referred to Speaker Punjab Assembly who will announce a parliamentary committee to resolve the issue.

Insiders revealed that if the committee also failed to reach an agreement then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would take up the issue to choose a candidate from the six nominated candidates.

Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz also met with senior federal ministers and PML-N leaders including Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Atta Tarar and others.

In the meetings, consultations were held regarding the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly and possible elections in the province.

The development comes two days after CM Elahi, hours after regaining the confidence of a majority of lawmakers in PA, formally advised the governor to dissolve the provincial legislature.

The move capped weeks of speculation, legal wrangling and a public spectacle of the differences between the ruling allies in Punjab — the PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) — over whether the assembly would be disbanded or not.

According to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Moonis Ellahi, the dissolution advice was received by the Governor House at 10:10pm on Thursday.

According to Article 112 of the Constitution, the assembly stands automatically “dissolved at the expiration of forty-eight hours after the chief minister has so advised” if the governor does not do it.

On Thursday, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi had formally advised the governor to dissolve the provincial legislature hours after retaining the confidence of a majority of lawmakers in the PA, in a session that began on Wednesday and ended in the early hours of Thursday.

The move had capped weeks of speculation, legal wrangling and a public spectacle of the differences between the ruling allies in Punjab and the federal government over whether the assembly would be disbanded or not.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman also sent letters to Chief Minister Punjab and Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly for appointment of a consensus caretaker chief minister in the province.

“Following the dissolution of Punjab Assembly, letters have been issued to Chief Minister Punjab and Leader of the Opposition Punjab Assembly for appointment of a consensus caretaker Chief Minister,” wrote Governor Punjab on Twitter.

Per the letter, Parvez Elahi would continue as caretaker CM Punjab till January 17 to help participate in the process of evolving consensus for the caretaker chief minister Punjab. The Governor also said he would remain available for meetings with the CM and Opposition leader for finalising the caretaker setup.

Rehman had said on Friday that the process for the dissolution of the assembly would happen step by step, terming it to be a “lengthy process”.

KP Assembly to be dissolved now: CM Mahmood Khan 

Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Mahmood Khan on Saturday announced that the provincial assembly will be dissolved today.

Addressing a presser in Peshawar, Khan stated that this was his “last address” as the K-P assembly would be dissolved today.

The minister stated that he was subordinate to PTI Chairperson Imran Khan, who would not give further suggestions, but rather would signal when the summary for the dissolution will be sent to the KP governor.

Khan congratulated his cabinet and governing body, adding that victory and loss were part of elections. The KP CM claimed that the PTI, based on its performance would win a two-thirds majority vote in the upcoming elections.

Khan also condemned the recent terrorist attack on a Peshawar police station where three police officers were martyred.

“The police have made immense sacrifices. We are trying to fight and eradicate terrorism,” he said.

Labelling Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah a “joker”, the KP chief minister said that if the province lost against terrorism, then Sana would be unable to hide out in the Sindh or Punjab House.

PML-N, PTI huddles mull options, future strategy 

Meanwhile, at a huddle with senior PML-N leaders, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday discussed the party’s future action plan regarding the assembly’s dissolution, which the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition had been trying to avoid.

Simultaneously, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Friday had urged Rehman to dissolve the PA forthwith instead of waiting for the 48-hour deadline to pass.

During a media talk yesterday, Chaudhry said contact was being initiated with Leader of the Opposition in the PA Hamza Shahbaz to begin discussions over the caretaker setup and that Elahi would be forwarding him a few names.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]


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