The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday officially de-notified 25 dissident PTI lawmakers who voted for the PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the Punjab chief minister election.
The votes of the 25 PTI dissidents had been instrumental in helping Hamza get over the line; he received a total of 197 votes while 186 votes are required for a simple majority. Since these 25 lawmakers are no longer members of the House, Hamza has lost his majority.
Last week, the electoral watchdog had passed an order to de-seat these lawmakers, stating that they had defected from the party under Article 63-A of the Constitution, which bars lawmakers from voting against party line in the election of prime minister and chief minister, in a vote of confidence or no-confidence, a Constitution amendment bill and a money bill.
In the notifications issued on Monday , the commission de-notified 20 lawmakers elected on general seats as well as five others elected on reserved seats.
The dissident lawmakers are Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Mohammad Ajmal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Nazir Ahmed Chohan, Mohammad Amin Zulqernain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Mohammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Mohammad Tahir, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Haroon Imran Gill, Uzma Kardar, Malik Asad Ali, Ijaz Masih, Mohammad Sabtain Raza, Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Mehar Mohammad Aslam and Faisal Hayat.
The allocation of five vacant reserved seats will assume an important role if the run-off election is held.
The ECP, according to legal experts, will now distribute these seats as per the current strength of each party in the Punjab Assembly — meaning if the PTI gets the most share it may be able to clinch the coveted chief minister’s post.
The Punjab Assembly’s current strength is 346 members: the PTI has 158 lawmakers, its ally PML-Q 10, the PML-N 165, PPP seven, five independents and one Rah-i-Haq Party. However, five ‘rebel’ PML-N lawmakers are not expected to support their party in the CM election.