LAHORE   -   As was being expected, Punjab Assembly Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi Friday called off an important sitting of the Punjab Assembly yet again; this time, without assigning any reason, with the clear intent of averting voting on the no-trust motion tabled against him by the then Opposition, the PML-N and the PPP, who are now coalition partners in Punjab. The Assembly was scheduled to meet on May 16 to take up a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari moved by the PTI and the PML-Q on April 6. Had it been put to vote; it might have been defeated as the opposition parties don’t have the required numbers to get it through the house. And had this agenda item been disposed of, the no-trust motion against the speaker would have been in line to be taken by the Assembly in the following sitting which would have sealed his fate as the speaker.

The speaker had earlier convened an Assembly sitting on April 28 with no-trust motion against the deputy speaker on the agenda, but it was cancelled half an hour before its commencement on the odd excuse of alleged police harassment of the Assembly officers.

This time, the speaker did not even bother to assign some reason for the postponement of the sitting that would now be held on May 30.

Ch Parvez Elahi is clearly misusing his powers vested in him under rule 25(b) of the Rules of Procedure to prolong the voting on the no-trust motions against him and the deputy speaker in a bid to gain time till a decision by the Election Commission regarding the expected deseating of the PTI dissidents who had voted for Hamza Shehbaz in the chief minister’s election held last month. A decision in this regard is expected by month’s end.

The speaker may change the date of Assembly sitting for the third time also and call the session even before May 30 in case a favorable decision from the Election Commission on PTI dissidents comes earlier. But he cannot prolong the sitting beyond May 30, as the PML-N is most likely to have its own governor by May 31. The maximum 25 days’ time period a president can withhold the prime minister’s summary to appoint a new governor will end by the said date.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had sent the summary to the president for appointment of Muhammad Balighur Rehman as the new Punjab governor on May 7.