LHC allows suspended PML-N lawmakers to attend PA session

The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) division bench on Thursday allowed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) 18 provincial assembly lawmakers to participate in the session fixed for taking up the 'no trust motion' submitted by the opposition against Punjab's Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi, Speaker Sibtain Khan and the deputy speaker.

Earlier on December 20, the LHC had also allowed the same PML-N MPAs to participate in the December 21 session summoned by the governor of Punjab requiring CM Elahi to obtain vote of confidence.

Read Governor will denotify CM Elahi if he fails to take vote of confidence: PML-N

Previously, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly (PA) Sibtain Khan had banned the entry of 18 PML-N lawmakers for the duration of 15 proceedings of the provincial legislature.

The action was taken due to their alleged misconduct by hampering the house's proceedings on October 22, when former chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar was presenting a resolution against the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) decision of disqualifying ex-premier Imran Khan.

The notification issued by the assembly secretariat had stated that the aforesaid lawmakers "made a hue and cry" when the resolution was being presented.

"I (speaker) requested them not to hamper the proceedings of the House but they continued raising slogans, used derogatory remarks, and blowing whistles," the statement had noted.

The chair repeatedly had called the house in order but to no avail. The business of assembly had been severely hampered by the unruly and grossly disorderly conduct of the above-said lawmakers, according to the statement.

Read More Back-channel talks may save PTI govt

The banned lawmakers had challenged the speaker’s notification however, no decision has come on that petition.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and PML-N lawmakers had submitted a no-confidence motion against CM Pervaiz Elahi in a bid to forestall the dissolution of the provincial assembly.

Moreover, the resolution was immediately followed by an order from the Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, directing the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence from the assembly on December 21 (yesterday) — dealing a blow to the PTI’s plans to disband the legislature on Friday.

The banned lawmakers, on the other hand, filed another plea with the LHC seeking urgent permission for participating in the session summoned by the governor for ‘vote of confidence’.

The high court on December 20, allowed the MPAs to participate in the session, however, Speaker Sibtain Khan had adjourned the sitting until Friday, instead of Wednesday (yesterday) as directed by the governor. The speaker had said that the governor’s letter, asking the CM to seek a vote of confidence was against the assembly rules, as well as the Constitution.

“The provincial assembly of Punjab is already in session having been summoned by the speaker on a requisition by the members of the assembly on October 23 …” the speaker’s ruling had said. “Until and unless the current session is prorogued, the governor cannot summon any fresh session.”

Also Read MPAs avoid discussing assembly dissolution

The speaker had also cited a LHC ruling in the Manzoor Wattoo case, suggesting that there was a minimum limit of 10 days, which must be provided to the provincial executive to obtain a vote of confidence from the assembly.

Responding to the ruling, the governor had rejected the speaker's assertion. “The speaker should not take into consideration personal preference for fulfilling the constitutional responsibility,” the governor had said in a three-page letter to the speaker.

Throughout the day, Punjab had remained in the grip of uncertainty, as Chief Minister Elahi did not take the vote of confidence, as asked by the governor.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned PML-N lawmakers then went on to file yet another plea with the high court today seeking urgent permission to participate in the PA session fixed for tomorrow.

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