ISLAMABAD: In a major development, Prime Minister Imran Khan nominated PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi as the next chief minister of Punjab and Usman Buzdar has handed over his resignation to the premier, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said Monday.
The development came after successful negotiations between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pervez Elahi were held at Bani Gala.
Habib said that matters between the ruling PTI and its key ally PML-Q have been settled.
He maintained that the PML-Q’s leadership expressed full confidence in the prime minister and announced support for the government during voting on the no-confidence motion against the prime minister.
The meeting took place minutes before the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif tabled the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the lower house.
The surprise move of the PML-Q leadership has angered its senior leader and federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema who announced his resignation from the federal cabinet.
Cheema also said that he would vote against the prime minister.
Talking exclusively to Geo News, Cheema said that he tendered his resignation after the approval of Chauhdry Shujaat Hussain.
Expressing his concerns over his party’s decision to support the PM during the no-trust motion, the PML-Q leader said that the federal government has failed to bring stability to the democratic institutions.
He maintained the government has also failed to address serious issues of governance in the provinces.
Despite multiple meetings between PTI and PML-Q over the support for a no-trust motion against the prime minister, the coalition partners had failed to reach an agreement over the chief ministership of Punjab.
Earlier in the day, in a fresh round of talks, a government delegation comprising federal ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Pervez Khattak had called on Elahi, but the discussion could not produce any results.
The PML-Q, after the meeting, said that both sides discussed the no-trust motion in detail but the issue of Punjab's chief ministership was not deliberated upon.
The meeting, held at the residence of Pervaiz Elahi in Islamabad, focused on the current political situation in the country. PML-Q’s Tariq Bashir Cheema and Moonis Elahi were also present.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, Foreign Minister Qureshi had said talks were held in a good manner.
Pervaiz Elahi had hinted at “progress” on the situation, while Moonis Elahi said the PML-Q had good relations with all sides, both individually and collectively.
Prior to the announcement by Farrukh Habib, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had clarified that Elahi went to listen to PM Imran Khan and "will not take any decision regarding the support to the no-trust motion."
"Elahi will apprise the allies after his meeting with the prime minister," the PML-Q leader had said.
Shujaat Hussain had said that whatever decision is taken, it will be a consensual one.
On the other hand, the PML-N had also decided to give the chief minister of Punjab's slot to the PML-Q and conveyed the message to the Chaudhry brothers, sources privy to the matter said.
According to the sources, the PML-Q leaders sought time for consultation.
Both parties agreed to continue consultations before the final decision of reaching a political understanding in a few days.
A PML-N delegation had called on PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Elahi on Sunday and discussed issues of mutual interest, including the no-confidence motion.
The PML-N delegation included Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Rana Sanaullah, and Attaullah Tarar.
Earlier in the day, the Opposition submitted a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar in the Punjab Assembly.
The joint Opposition had submitted the no-confidence motion against Buzdar on the basis of his performance.
The development comes in the wake of the Opposition's no-confidence motion and increasing pressure within the PTI to remove the incumbent chief minister.
A total of 126 lawmakers — including Rana Mashood, Ramzan Siddique, Malik Ahmed and Mian Naseer — from the Opposition parties have signed the no-confidence motion against Buzdar, said PML-N’s Rana Mashood, adding that 119 members signed the requisition for a session.
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