Monday May 27, 2024

Punjab political crisis shows no signs of abating

For the first time, two sessions of the Punjab Assembly are likely to take place on the same day today

By Faizan Bangash
June 15, 2022
The Punjab Assembly building in Lahore. Photo: The News/File
The Punjab Assembly building in Lahore. Photo: The News/File

LAHORE: The crisis in the Punjab Assembly deepened on Tuesday after the government failed to present the annual budget 2022-23 even on the second day due to the deadlock with PA Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

Meanwhile, the Punjab governor prorogued the assembly session while summoning it at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal today (Wednesday). On the other hand, Elahi, while refusing to accept the governor's decision, also adjourned the session till today (Wednesday). For the first time, two sessions of the Punjab Assembly are likely to take place on the same day and PA Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is at the risk of losing his job if the PMLN moves against him a no-confidence move in the session summoned by the governor, which is most likely to be chaired by the PA deputy speaker.

On Tuesday, the PA session began after a record delay of around eight and a half hours. Throughout the day, the deadlock between the speaker and government continued over the issue of IGP and the chief secretary whom Elahi had directed to appear before the House. The speaker had asked the IGP and chief secretary to apologise over the arrest of political workers besides calling for withdrawal of cases against them. However, the Punjab government did not present both the officials before the House and the deadlock over this issue continued for hours.

Meanwhile, the US consul general and a delegation of federal ministers and state ministers called on Elahi. The PA session, which was scheduled to begin at 1pm, started after 9:30pm with Elahi in the chair. After the beginning of the session, the speaker read a notification issued by the Punjab governor and soon after it invited Awais Leghari to start the budget speech. However, Leghari refused to deliver the speech and said the session had been prorogued and the one chaired by him (the speaker) had no constitutional worth as the governor had summoned a fresh session.

Responding to this, Elahi said the governor had no authority, but the treasury benches started making a noise. “I hold you in great esteem but this session has no constitutional legality now after the governor prorogued it,” said Leghari. Elahi then adjourned the sitting till Wednesday, but PMLN MPAs walked out.

Under the rules, the speaker would be invited to chair the session at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal and if he did not accept the invitation, the deputy speaker would chair it, said PMLN MPA Samiullah Khan while talking to The News. The PMLN MPAs outside the Punjab Assembly came down hard on Elahi for bulldozing the rules of the House. In the session to be held at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal, Leghari will present the budget 2022-23. On the other hand, Elahi intends to chair the session at the PA.