Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz Sharif – the two aspirants for the coveted Punjab chief minister slot – appeared optimistic on Saturday and claimed to have the required number of lawmakers on their respective sides.
Hamza claimed to have more than the required numbers to become the next chief executive of Pakistan’s most populous province and termed the current state of affairs in Punjab result of the ruling party’s policies.
The now former chief minister, Usman Buzdar, dismissed rumours that he had formed a separate bloc after tendering his resignation.
He said they were with Prime Minister Imran Khan and will remain by his side. He also condemned the incident in which PTI’s former minister for higher education Yasir Hamayun misbehaved with a journalist.
Meanwhile, inside the Punjab Assembly, lawmakers from both sides of the aisles indulged in sloganeering against the other side, with PML-N lawmakers question why the house proceedings were being delayed if the ruling party had sufficient numbers.
Earlier in the day, Elahi went on to term the contest a ‘long inning’, not a ‘short match’.
The Punjab Assembly speaker’s remarks came in response to a journalist’s question regarding him “preparing to play cricket on a rough pitch”.
Answering another query about the number game in the provincial assembly, to ensure his election as chief minister, Elahi simply stated that everything was fine.
The PML-Q leader abstained from answering further questions asked by media persons, and also did not respond to questions regarding his son, Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi.
The intrigue around his son comes following Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah’s remarks, holding him responsible for the PML-Q’s decision to side with the government instead of the opposition for the no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, the media boycotted the Punjab Assembly session over alleged humiliation by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s provincial minister Yasir Humayun.
The media were barred from entering the Punjab Assembly Secretariat despite traditionally being allowed to cover the session from the press gallery.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran Khan offered the position of Punjab chief minister to Pervez Elahi, following his party’s decision to support the ruling coalition in the face of the no-trust move against the premier.
Former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar had tendered his resignation to PM Imran after the joint opposition submitted a no-trust motion against Buzdar in the provincial assembly, citing “poor performance”.