Who will be the next Chief Minister of Punjab-Hamza Shahbaz or Pervaiz Ilahi?

 Hamza Shahbaz seems favourite to become CM Punjab against Ch Pervaiz Ilahi due to the defections in PTI

The Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly called the session of the Assembly today to elect new CM Punjab. The session was called late night after postponing it till April 16 earlier in the day. The decision to convene the Punjab Assembly session was made after consultations with legal experts. The session of Punjab Assembly will start at 7:30 today April 06.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan was assured by Advocate General Punjab Ahmad Awais that election for new CM will be held according to the constitution and rules. Earlier, the Supreme Court of Pakistan observed that although it had not yet issued an order on the issue of Punjab but the election for the provincial chief executive should be held in accordance with law and the Constitution.

 So the Deputy Speaker followed his leader Imran khan and took U-turn on his earlier decision to adjourn the session.

The number game is quite interesting at the moment. Hamza Shahbaz is claiming to have support of more than 203 MPAs. Ch Pervaiz Ilahi tried very hard to bring back the rebel MPAs of PTI back into the party fold but he didn’t succeed to convince the majority. It will be interesting to see that how the PTI dissidents are going to vote in the CM Punjab election. The PTI is not seems confident at the moment.

According to sources, only 130 out of 183 members of Punjab Assembly attended the parliamentary party meeting held under the chair of Imran Khan. 53 PTI MPAs opted to remain absent from the meeting. 

The situation is not seems conducive for Ch Pervaiz Ilahi as PTI is facing rebellion within the party. PTI lawyer Babar Awan informed the supreme Court that 40 MPAs of PTI have changed the loyalty and went over to opposition.   

The Punjab Assembly is going to elect the new Chief Minister of Punjab today. Hamza Shahbaz of PML-N and Ch Pervaiz Ilahi of PML-Q will face each other in a close contest. Ch Pervaiz Ilahi is the joint candidate of PML-Q and PTI while Hamza Shahbaz is the candidate of joint opposition.   The support of 186 MPAs is required to become CM Punjab. Hamza Shahbaz seems to have upper hand as at least 40 PTI legislatures in Punjab Assembly are supporting him.

The two disgruntled groups of PTI known as Tareen group and Aleem Khan Group have already announced to support the PML-N candidate. In the previous session Hamza Shahbaz proved that he enjoyed the support of majority members of Punjab Assembly. But the Deputy Speaker adjourned the session after just six minutes to avoid voting on the CM Punjab.

The rumours are circling around that Deputy Speaker might once again adjourn the session if Pervaiz Ilahi faced a defeat. The PM Imran Khan made a visit to Lahore yesterday and tried to get support for Pervaiz Ilahi. The other plan under discussion is to suspend the membership of more than a dozen PML-N MPAs for damaging the furniture inside the assembly hall. But it is not yet clear that what kind of strategy PTI and PML-Q will use to deny the opportunity to opposition to elect its CM Punjab.  The dissolution of Punjab Assembly. 

                                                                         Khalid Bhatti  

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