Hamza Shehbaz’s political fate hangs in balance


The provincial legislators from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) met with Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Wednesday to form a joint strategy following the decision of the Supreme Court on the defection of legislators, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced moving the court to overthrow the government provincial in Punjab.

The PTI also suggested accepting the offer of the government headed by PML-N to the Centre to hold talks on electoral reforms, but only following the announcement of the date of the next election. The party also met the PML-Q leaders to devise their joint strategy to oust Hamza.

The PPP legislators, under the leadership of Hasan Murtaza, met with the Chief Minister and discussed the situation following the SC’s verdict. In the current situation, the PPP is eying at least four ministries and some advisory positions in Punjab after being ditched by the PML-N for the Punjab governor and assembly speaker’s slots. The PPP lawmakers assured Hamza of their support and told him not to worry if there would be a second CM election.

CM Hamza and PTI provincial leaders had separate meetings with legal experts to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court decision, which declared that votes of defying legislators will not be counted.

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In light of this development, the PML-N is ready for the second round of election for a new chief minister, if such a situation occurs because of the SC’s verdict. The PTI, on the other hand, considers Hamza ceases to be the CM after a “clear verdict” of the Supreme Court on the status of defectors. If he does not step down immediately, the party will ask the court to send him home.

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, however, claimed that Hamza would not quit. “Both the federal and Punjab governments will complete their tenures (until August 2023),” he emphasized.

PML-N Deputy Secretary-General Ataullah Tarar also stated: “If the PTI proves (in the Election Commission of Pakistan) its parliamentary meeting took place and legislators were advised to vote for Chaudhry Parvez Elahi (the joint PTI-PML-Q nominee for CM), we still have the majority to win the run-off election for the office.”

He said that the PML-N with the support of the PPP, independent legislators, and the Rah-i-Haq party will be able to obtain 173 votes at the Punjab Assembly, as compared to the PTI-PML-Q’s 168. However, the PML-N’s 161, PPP’s seven, three independent, and the lone Rah-i-Haq Party MPAs combined make 172 votes.

Photo: PML N

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