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Punjab Assembly passes resolution against governor’s ‘illegal’ move to remove CM

LAHORE: As the political turmoil continues in Pakistan’s largest province, the Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution, deploring Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman’s “illegal” move to remove Parvez Elahi as the chief minister.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) MPA Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal moved the resolution, calling on President Arif Alvi to take action against the province’s governor.

The opposition — comprising parties from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — staged a walkout even before the resolution against the governor was presented.

The resolution mentioned that the “imported government” in the centre has “attacked” Punjab and an attempt is also being made to destabilise the province.

“People, who sold their conscience, have initiated an undemocratic invasion of the house and tried to destabilise the government,” the resolution mentioned.

It also mentioned that the governor exceeded his powers when he issued the notification for the chief minister’s removal and also “disrespected” the Punjab Assembly.

“The president should take notice of this shameful move. The president should also initiate proceedings to remove the governor from his office,” the resolution mentioned, as the reassured its “confidence” in CM Elahi.

In his address to the house, the chief minister said that no matter what his political enemies attempted to do, his government would continue to rule in Punjab.

“We do not seek anyone’s help except for Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We will continue our work and I assure all of you today, that even our generations will work for the religion.”

In a sweeping statement against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Mashood questioned: “Today is December 23, why aren’t you dissolving the assemblies?”

Speaking to media persons outside the Punjab Assembly, Mashood berated Khan and said that the ongoing terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is because of the PTI chief.

“Pakistan needs to get rid of this mess created by Khan,” he said, adding that the opposition has boycotted the assembly proceeding as “we believe session shouldn’t be called until the court’s decision is announced”.

The political crisis in Punjab does not seem to be ceased soon as lawmakers sitting on treasury and opposition benches appeared at loggerheads over who will get the CM’s Office and who will take it over next.

In his bid to oust the chief minister, the governor — a member of the PML-N — had ordered the CM to take a vote of confidence at 4pm on December 21.

But Punjab Assembly Speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan Punjab — a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader — termed the order against the Constitution and adjourned an ongoing session till Friday — which resumed today.

In response, the governor disagreed with the speaker and rejected his reasonings for not summoning a session. He added that the ruling has “no bearing” on the order to hold a session for the confidence vote.

Following this, in a notification issued in the wee hours of Friday, the governor de-notified Elahi as the chief minister, citing his reluctance to take a vote of confidence.

Rehman said that since he believes that Elahi does not command the confidence of the Punjab Assembly, he was de-notifying him as the chief minister and also dissolving the provincial cabinet.

But the PTI and PML-Q alike rejected the notification and moved the Lahore High Court against it.

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