Thursday April 18, 2024

Hamza Shahbaz seizes Punjab throne as lotas fly in PA

Hamza secured 197 votes, with the support of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Rah-e-Haq Party, Independents as well as 26 PTI MPAs representin the Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan group.

By Faizan Bangash & Sher Ali Khalti
April 17, 2022
Punjab Assembly witnessing chaos. Photo: Twitter
Punjab Assembly witnessing chaos. Photo: Twitter

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly became a battlefield before Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) leader Hamza Shehbaz could be elected as the new leader of the house on Saturday.

Hamza, the candidate of the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), secured 197 votes, with the support of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Rah-e-Haq Party, Independents as well as 26 PTI MPAs representing the Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan group.

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the candidate of the PMLQ and PTI, could not get any vote as both these parties boycotted the election process after the daylong clashes and violence in the assembly. The PA was turned into a battlefield and two major figures of the House, including the outgoing speaker, the candidate for CM's slot, and deputy speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari, came under attack by the legislators.

For the first time in the history of the Punjab Assembly, police entered the PA premises to control the situation. After six turbulent hours in the PA, finally, the voting process started at around Iftar time, and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the new chief minister of the province.

The PA session, which started at around 12pm with Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair, witnessed tension at the very outset and the PTI MPAs supporting Pervaiz Elahi surrounded the dais of the deputy speaker.

The PTI MPAs started throwing 'Lotas' on the deputy speaker and some of them approached his chair and started thrashing him. The Punjab Assembly security personnel gathered around the deputy speaker and took him to the gallery to protect him from the attack. At that time, Pervaiz Elahi and former chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar were waving to the members and responding to their gestures while showing the 'thumbs up' sign.

After this incident, the polling for the CM election could not take place, and later the police were called in to control the situation. Heavy contingent of police entered the PA premises and started controlling the MPAs, who were causing disorder in the house. The candidate for CM and the outgoing PA speaker, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, meanwhile, came under attack by a group of PMLN MPAs, who also thrashed his press secretary Chaudhry Iqbal. An arm of Pervaiz Elahi reportedly got fractured and, in tight security, he was shifted to his office where he was provided medical treatment.

After getting elected as the Punjab CM, Hamza Shehbaz, in his speech on the floor of the House, termed his success the victory of democracy. He said for two weeks, the entire nation was put in a state of confusion and the process of electing the leader of the house was put on halt. He said the government of Imran Niazi made the life of poor people miserable. And now, when he was asked to explain his position in the Toshakhana case, he termed it a conspiracy. He said the real conspiracy was to make Sardar Usman Buzdar the chief minister of Punjab.

Hamza said Imran Niazi used to say that he was not in office to fix the prices of vegetables. He asked the former PM to tell for what purpose he was holding the office. Hamza Shehbaz also condemned the attack on Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari vehemently, and stated that it was not an attack on an individual but on the august house. He said he and his government would not take revenge from anyone; however, an investigation committee would be formed to probe the attack on deputy speaker and the house.

The CM-elect vowed taking all possible measures for welfare of people. He promised to come up with a strong local bodies system and all other steps meant to provide relief to people. Hamza, in his speech, thanked Jahangir Khan Tareen, Abdul Aleem Khan, Jugnoo Mohsin, Raja Saghir, Malik Asad Khokhar, Fida Hussain Wattoo, Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Rah-e-Haq Party head Muavya Azam Tariq and others for supporting him.