PML-N, PPP move no-confidence motion against Punjab CM Elahi

Development comes days before PTI's plan to dissolve the provincial assembly

Usman Bhatti
Zeeshan Baksh
Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. — Screengrab/Twitter/@ChParvezElahi
Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. — Screengrab/Twitter/@ChParvezElahi

  • No trust motion has been submitted to oust CM Parvez Elahi.
  • Punjab governor convenes crucial assembly session on Dec 21.
  • "CM Elahi has lost confidence of his party president."

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) submitted a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi in the Punjab Assembly on Monday.

The development comes just days before Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) planned to dissolve the provincial assembly.

On Saturday, the deposed prime minister announced the date for dissolution of the provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 23 (Friday).

The joint opposition, PML-N and PPP, in the Punjab Assembly filed the no-trust motion as per of its strategy to counter the PTI’s move.

The final decision comes a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain held multiple meetings and reached the decision to submit the motion in the provincial assembly.

The document was submitted by PML-N’s lawmakers Mian Marghoob Ahmad, Khalil Tahir Sandhu and Khawaja Imran Nazeer. PPP’s parliamentary leader Hassan Murtaza accompanied the delegation.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman will convene the crucial meeting of the provincial assembly on December 21 (Wednesday).

According to a notification issued by the Punjab Governor’s Secretariat, “The governor Punjab is pleased to sign order summoning the provincial assembly of Punjab at 1600 hours (4pm) on Wednesday and requiring the chief minister of Punjab to obtain a vote of confidence in terms of Article 130(7) of the Constitution.”

According to an order, shared by the PML-N on its official Twitter handle, the governor said that the chief minister has “lost the confidence of his party President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and members of his own party belonging to the PML-Q”.

“It is widely known that over the last few weeks serious differences of opinion erupted between two coalition parties of the ruling alliance in the Punjab Assembly i.e. PTI and PML-Q regarding political strategies, dissolution of the assembly, development schemes, and transfers of public officials,” it stated.

The order also highlighted that the aforementioned differences became evident after the chief minister appointed a member of the assembly namely, Khayal Ahmad, to the provincial cabinet without the knowledge of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

“The chief minister has stated in a TV programme on December 4 that he is not going to dissolve the provincial assembly until March 2023, a position which is completely at odds with the PTI’s public opinion on the issue.”

The order also referred to CM Elahi “openly and vehemently” criticising Imran during an interview aired on December 18 for the latter’s comments on former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Citing these facts, the governor said that CM Elahi “does not command the confidence” of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly and subsequently summoned a session on December 21 at 4pm in the chamber under Section 130(7) of the Constitution for the no-trust vote against Elahi.

According to Section 130(7): “The chief minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the governor, but the governor shall not exercise his powers under this clause unless he is satisfied that the chief minister does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the provincial assembly, in which case he shall summon the provincial assembly and require the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the assembly.”

‘No-trust motion will fail’

Reacting to the development, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the no-trust motion against CM Elahi is a move to “run away from elections”.

“Sanaullah and [Planning Minister] Ahsan Iqbal were asking the PTI to dissolve assemblies and they [PDM] would contest elections but today they are running away,” Fawad wrote on his official Twitter handle, asserting that the PTI would not let them escape.

He added that the no-trust motion “will fail and CM Elahi will dissolve the assembly... the people’s decision is final".

‘In contact with Shehbaz, Zardari’

Earlier today, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain confirmed that he is in contact with PM Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari but not with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Confirming his meetings with both leaders, Shujaat said that the meetings remained positive.

“Political contacts and meetings will continue during the next three to four days,” the PML-Q leader said, adding that they would jointly devise their strategy to counter the PTI’s plan.

‘Two options under consideration’

Unfolding the ruling alliance’s strategy to prevent the Punjab Assembly from being dissolved, the PML-Q stalwart said that the PPP and the PML-N are mulling two options — no trust motion and asking CM Parvez Elahi to take the vote of confidence.

“The parties might have more options but they share the two options with me,” he added.

“Those who do not have sufficient numbers to make a no-confidence motion successful, should try to complete numbers,” he suggested the politician.

The Punjab chief minister can stay in his post if he “makes” a decision, the PML-Q stalwart added.