When it became clear that the Punjab Assembly will elect its chief minister today in accordance with the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) directives, PTI legislators erupted in a disturbance inside the chamber and attacked Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari.
The session was supposed to start at 11:30 a.m., but it was postponed owing to PTI members’ unruly behaviour.
Despite the presence of security officers, parliamentarians from the ruling party allegedly threw “lotas” at Mazari, assaulted him, and pulled his hair.
After the incident, Mazari exited the room.
PTI legislators created a disturbance within the legislature when they carried “lotas” into the chamber and began yelling “lota, lota” (turncoats) at dissident PTI MPs who had left the party and opted to back the opposition.
Outside the assembly, PML-N lawmaker Ataullah Tarrar requested the Chief Justice of the LHC to look into the event.
“We are not interfering with the house’s processes in any way.” We will not leave till the election is over. “We’ll wait till 12 a.m.,” he added.
A total of 200 MPs have pledged their support to the PML-N.
The two contenders, Hamza Shahbaz and Parvez Elahi, are likely to compete fiercely. Hamza is a joint candidate of the PML-N and other coalition parties, whereas Elahi of the PML-Q has the support of the PTI.
Since ex-governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar — who was ousted from his job last week – accepted Usman Buzdar’s resignation on April 1, the CM’s office has remained vacant for over two weeks.
After Speaker Elahi shut off the Punjab Parliament on April 6, the Opposition elected PML-N leader Hamza as the chief minister in a symbolic session of the provincial assembly.
The unified opposition claims to have 200 people behind it and believes it will win the CM election. To become the chief minister of the House of 371, Hamza Shahbaz requires the support of 186 members.
Elahi is sceptical about Mazari’s motives.
Elahi told media after arriving to the assembly that, although being the speaker, he was not the custodian of the house today since he is a candidate for the position of chief minister.
“Time will tell if the deputy speaker was telling the truth or not […] we will strive to organise a transparent election today,” Elahi said, adding that he knows where Dost Mohammad Mazari is getting his orders from and will reveal more information when the time comes.
He claimed to have the numbers to win the election and argued that some individuals did not have clear objectives.
‘Dissidents have the right to vote.’
Earlier in the day, Deputy Speaker Mazari stated that he would conduct today’s election in accordance with the laws, and that he would not be pressured if any member of the Punjab Assembly attempted to interrupt the session.
“The election will be free and fair […] the election will be held today, and the results will be released today,” Mazari told reporters.
Both the Opposition and the Treasury will want to postpone the election, according to the deputy speaker, but the elections will be held in a “decent manner.”
He also stated that dissident members of any political party will be able to vote today.