LAHORE: As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) takes up on May 6 the case of PTI dissident lawmakers who had voted for Hamza Shehbaz during the election for chief minister, law experts say Punjab’s new chief executive will have to prove he enjoys majority in the house once these MPAs are declared de-seated later this month.
The PTI and its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Q are confident that Hamza Sharif, who was sworn in on Saturday, will be sent packing once the case of 26 PTI defectors is decided.
Mubeenuddin Qazi, a Supreme Court lawyer, told Dawn that once the ECP de-seated the defecting MPAs under Article 63-A, the new chief minister would lose the majority in the house.
“In this scenario, the chief minister may be asked by the governor to seek a vote of confidence, or a no-trust motion can be tabled against him,” he said.
Since Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had already advised President Arif Alvi to remove Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, it is likely that when the ECP’s decision on de-seating the defectors will come later this month, Mr Cheema would have been replaced (probably by PPP’s Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood).
“The new governor may not ask Hamza for a vote of confidence [after he would have lost support of 26 members] and the PTI-led opposition would have the option to go for a no-confidence motion against him,” a PML-N insider told Dawn.
In the 371-member Punjab Assembly, the PTI has 183 lawmakers, PML-Q 10, PML-N 165, PPP seven, five independents and one belonging to the Rah-i-Haq Party (RHP).
A candidate needs 186 votes to become chief minister. Hamza bagged 197 votes with the help of seven PPP, three independents, one RHP man and 26 dissident MPAs of PTI’s Jehangir Tareen, Aleem Khan and Khokhar groups. Four ‘rebel’ PML-N MPAs had not voted for Hamza.