Amid rising political tensions in the largest province, Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan on Thursday said the provincial assembly cannot be dissolved tomorrow (Friday).
The speaker, while addressing a presser in Lahore, said: “The Punjab assembly cannot be dissolved tomorrow. The no-confidence motion has been presented and its notices will be issued. The matter will move towards the first week of January.”
On Monday, a delegation of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers submitted a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi in the Punjab Assembly.
The development came days after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced the dissolution of the provincial assembly on December 23.
Regarding Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman’s letter addressing the speaker sent a day earlier, Sibtain added that it is not a governor’s problem to give or not give a ministry to someone. He added that the governor cannot summon a new session while one is already in progress in the assembly.
After the speaker defied Punjab governor’s directives — summoning a session on Wednesday at 4pm for a vote of confidence pertaining to CM Elahi, he declared the speaker’s ruling “unconstitutional and illegal” following which the speaker received a letter from the governor on the same night.
Further sharing his take on the letter and CM Elahi’s mention in it, the Punjab assembly speaker said: “The governor has written about the vote of confidence and no-confidence in his letter. However, his accusations on Elahi are not related to the governor.”
Khan, when addressing the content of the governor’s letter, talked about abiding by the oath he has taken. He added that it is not his job to save the chief minister and the government will deal with it.
“I am the custodian of this house. Everyone should do their job while remaining within their constitutional territories,” he said, urging the governor to avoid passing “illegal orders”.
He added that the speaker also represents a constitutional body just like the governor.
Talking about writing a letter to President Dr Arif Alvi, the speaker said: “I have stalled the matter of writing a letter to the president. It will be sent when the time comes. The no-confidence has arrived, but its process will take time.”
With regard to the vote of no-confidence against himself, the provincial assembly speaker said that he cannot legally chair the motion.
“We want the assembly to be dissolved. We want to go to the people but the governor doesn’t want that, which is why he is creating obstacles,” he said, asserting the PTI will remove the obstacles and go to the public.