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Pakistan Punjab

Elahi’s advice secures the fate of the provincial legislature

Elahi's advice secures the fate of the provincial legislature

LAHORE: On Thursday, Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi formally recommended to the governor to dissolve the provincial legislature just hours after earning the trust of the majority of legislators in the Punjab Assembly.

The decision ends weeks of rumours, legal wrangling, and a public spectacle of the disagreements between the Punjabi government’s allies, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PML-Q, on whether or not to dissolve the legislature.

The signed recommendation addressed to the governor states, “I, Parvez Elahi Chief Minister Punjab, hereby advise you to dissolve the provincial legislature of Punjab.” On Thursday night, uncertainty reigned as the date on the CM’s purported one-line counsel to the governor—written on a plain piece of paper—appeared to have been rewritten.

However, more than an hour later, PML-Q politician Moonis Elahi uploaded a “real” copy of the paper (on the chief minister’s official letterhead) on Twitter with the description “Promise fulfilled.” Addressing PTI leader Imran Khan, he wished: “May we see you back in PM seat soon. InshaAllah.”

In the meantime, the governor himself acknowledged in a tweet that the Governor House got the Punjab Assembly dissolution advise in a sealed envelope soon after 10pm. The governor was quoted as saying that he would make the choice to dissolve the assembly, which served as the voice of millions of people, “with a sad heart” and that it would not be an easy one.

Fawad Chaudhry, a stalwart of the PTI, claimed that the governor had been issued a summary requesting that he dissolve the parliament within 48 hours. “The assembly will automatically stand dissolved if the governor does not accept the advice within that period,” he insisted.

In the upcoming two weeks, according to Mr. Chaudhry, the PTI would also send a letter to the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz, asking him to come back to Pakistan and talk about the establishment of an interim set-up as mandated by the Constitution.

According to Fawad Chaudhry, who spoke to the media, the KP Assembly would also be promptly dissolved and elections would be held in both provinces, which together constituted up 60% of the national provincial legislature. He advised the PDM government to exercise caution, choose an electoral system, and move toward holding national elections in order to assist the country in achieving political stability, which leads to economic stability. The former minister claimed that the National Assembly speaker was being urged by the PTI leadership and all of its MNAs to accept their resignations and hold elections concurrently with the provincial assembly elections.

Additionally, Mr. Chaudhry congratulated Chief Minister Elahi, his son Moonis, MNA Hussain Elahi, and the PML-Q MPAs for supporting Imran Khan in all circumstances. Attaullah Tarar, the special assistant to the prime minister, had earlier stated that the government would reveal its upcoming plan as soon as the governor got the CM’s recommendations.

In the evening, Mr. Elahi met briefly with PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Zaman Park home, where he later signed the eagerly awaited summary. He attended the meeting with with his son Rasikh Elahi, PML-Q MNA Hussain Elahi, and former defence minister Pervaiz Khattak.

Prior to that, Mr. Khan had a thorough discussion with the senior members of his party, who argued that the legislature should be dissolved immediately in accordance with Mr. Khan’s announcement on November 26 that he would leave the Punjab and KP assemblies.

The PTI chairman reaffirmed his position that the party would not be concerned if the federal government showed resistance to holding general elections within the next 90 days, as required by the Constitution, because the federal ruling coalition would still be subject to the wrath of the public.

According to sources, the PML-Q legislators opposed dissolving the assembly and gave a number of justifications for their opposition, including the need to ensure that elections in the two provinces take place within the required 90 days, their feelings toward the PDM government, and the establishment’s role. In the most recent instance, all nine MPAs of the PML-Q, with the exception of Parvez Elahi, demanded that the PTI not run candidates in the districts they had just won.

However, a source close to the chief minister said that while dissolving the legislature was somewhat unexpected, it was PTI leader Khan’s prerogative and he executed it. According to the source, the PML-Q now anticipates that the PTI will award its “reliable ally” a larger portion of se