Elahi election as PA speaker sends alarm in PML-N ranks

Salim Ahmed

The election of former Punjab Chief Minister and the PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi with 201 votes has spread alarm among the ranks of the PML-N.
Elahi who was enjoying the support of the PTI having 176 MPAs got 201 votes with 10 of the PML-Q and remaining 15 from others. It is being claimed that some 15 MPAs of the PML-N had voted Parvez Elahi, as the PML-N nominee could get only 147 votes out of 162 votes of the PML-N.
Soon after the election of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, the PML-N held a meeting with Hamza Shahbaz in the chair. Hamza also contacted Shahbaz Sharif and sought guidelines, the sources claimed. In the meanwhile, the PML-N legislators did not participate in the election of deputy speaker.
The PML-N parliamentary party also discussed strategy after the election of speaker.
Moreover, Elahi Thursday returned to the Punjab Assembly after eleven years. Last time, Elahi came in the provincial assembly in 2007 when he was provincial chief minister, before the government under former president Pervez Musharraf was dissolved and snap election was called.
After 2018 General elections, PML-Q had entered into alliance with the PTI under which both parties will support each other’s candidates during inter-house election for prime minister, speaker and deputy speaker.
In the 2018 general election, PML-Q secured three seats in the National Assembly and 10 seats (including an independent who later joined their ranks and two women reserved seats) in the Punjab Assembly. Of these, the 73-year-old Parvez Elahi picked up two national assembly constituencies and one provincial. However, he gave up both his parliamentary seats for a place in the provincial house.
Born to an influential family in Gujrat, Elahi graduated from the Former Christian College in Lahore before completing a diploma in Industrial Management from London.
Since the 1980s, the politician has worn many hats. His initial stint in government began at the local level and by 1985, he was elected to the Punjab Assembly. Thereon, began a winning streak.
He made it to the provincial assembly six times consecutively – in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2002 – from the Pakistan Muslim League platform headed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
A break from the political party came after the 1999 bloodless coup, which paved the way for General Musharraf to sweep into power. That year, an accountability watchdog pursued and detained Elahi on corruption charges. In 2000, soon after Nawaz’s dismissal from office, his political party began to rupture at home.
Of the various groupings to emerge, the PML-Q, spearheaded by Elahi and his cousin Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was one that came into a quick agreement with the then President Musharraf. The party launched with only a few dozen likeminded politicians, including Mian Mohammad Azhar, Khurshid Kasuri and Syeda Abida Hussain. But that didn’t stop it from winning 69 general seats in the Parliament out of 272 in 2002.
From October 2002 to 2007, the seasoned politician served as the chief minister of Punjab, while Shujaat Hussain was appointed the president of the PML-Q.
PML-Q’s ranks further swelled in 2004, when other smaller factions of the PML –PML-Chattha, PML-Jinnah, PML-Functional and PML-Z – coalesced into it.
However, strangely, none of this translated into electoral strength. After 2008, its presence in the national and Punjab assembly began to decline and it suffered many defections.

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