LAHORE: With the backing of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Rah-e-Haq Party, Independents, and 26 PTI MPs representing the Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan groups, Hamza, the nominee of the opposition coalition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), received 197 votes.
The candidate of the PMLQ and the PTI, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, received no votes since both parties boycotted the voting process following the daylong confrontations and violence in the legislature. The PA was converted into a battleground, with lawmakers attacking two important characters in the House, including the departing speaker, the contender for the CM’s position, and deputy speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari.
For the first time in the Punjab Assembly’s history, police were called in to help contain the situation. After six hours of tumult in the PA, the voting process began about Iftar time, and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the province’s new chief minister.
The PA session, which began about 12 p.m. with Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair, was tense from the start, with PTI MPs backing Pervaiz Elahi forming a ring around the deputy speaker’s dais.
The PTI MPs began hurling ‘Lotas’ at the deputy speaker, with some approaching his chair and assaulting him. Security guards from the Punjab Assembly swarmed around the deputy speaker and escorted him to the gallery to shield him from the attack. Pervaiz Elahi and former chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar were waving to the members and responded to their motions with a thumbs up sign at the moment.
Following this incident, polling for the CM election was halted, and the police were brought in to help manage the situation. A large police detachment entered the PA premises and began managing the MPAs who were causing chaos in the building. Meanwhile, a group of PMLN MPAs attacked Ch Pervaiz Elahi, the CM candidate and outgoing PA speaker, and battered his press secretary Chaudhry Iqbal. Pervaiz Elahi’s arm was apparently fractured, and he was escorted to his office for medical care under strict supervision.
In his acceptance address on the House floor after being elected as Punjab Chief Minister, Hamza Shehbaz referred to his win as a democratic triumph. He said that for two weeks, the entire country was in disarray, and that the process of voting the Speaker of the House had come to a standstill. He said that Imran Niazi’s government made life difficult for the poor. When pressed to clarify his stance in the Toshakhana case, he now refers to it as a conspiracy. He said the underlying plot was to install Sardar Usman Buzdar as Punjab’s chief minister.
Imran Niazi, according to Hamza, used to argue that he wasn’t in government to fix vegetable prices. He demanded an explanation from the previous Prime Minister as to why he was in government. Hamza Shehbaz also strongly criticised the attack on Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari, claiming that it was an attack on the august house rather than a person. He stated that he and his government would not seek vengeance against anybody, but that an investigating committee will be created to look into the attack on the deputy speaker and the House of Representatives.
The CM-elect promised to take all necessary efforts to improve people’s lives. He vowed to create a robust local government structure as well as other measures to help people. Hamza praised Jahangir Khan Tareen, Abdul Aleem Khan, Jugnoo Mohsin, Raja Saghir, Malik Asad Khokhar, Fida Hussain Wattoo, Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Muavya Azam Tariq, and others for their support in his address.