Unending game in Lahore



IN an apparent bid to counter the move of Chairman PTI Imran Khan to dissolve the Punjab Assembly (along with KP), the ruling coalition at the Centre has embarked upon two simultaneous initiatives to put Chief Minister Ch Pervez Elahi in a tight corner on the issue of dissolution.

Governor of the province Balighur Rehman has summoned the Provincial Assembly asking the Chief Minister to seek a vote of confidence from the House while the opposition PML(N) and PPP members have submitted a no-trust resolution against the Chief Minister.

The two moves were foregone conclusion in the prevailing complex circumstances but no one can say for sure what would be their final outcome as much depends, besides other factors, on wheeling-dealing by leaders and parties, numbers game, real nature of trust between PTI and PML(Q) in the province and interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the law and regulations of the Assembly.

The very fact that Imran Khan and his ally PML(Q) did not opt for a surprise move for dissolution of the Assembly and instead gave a deadline of one week raised doubts about their real motives on the issue.

Analysts believe the timeframe was announced to give opportunity to the other side to go for counter moves to scuttle the prospects for dissolution and provide face-saving to Imran Khan, who has played most of his cards in a short span of time and is fast losing options on the political chess-board.

Now much depends on the fate of the session of the Provincial Assembly that the Governor has convened as per power given to him by the Constitution.

It is to be seen whether the CM would actually seek the vote of confidence and in that case where or not he would get solid support of the PTI and PML(Q) members.

In fact, the way members of PML(Q) behave would determine the course of future events besides the role of some members of PTI who might opt out during Assembly proceedings on different pretexts.

The political scenario could also change if the incumbent CM, who has a demonstrated preference for continuation of the Assembly, agrees to the offer of the other side to become their candidate for the top provincial office.

As for the resolution of no-trust, it is unlikely to yield the desired results as the opposition lacks majority in the House to get the resolution adopted.

Though there are no specific provisions of the Constitution or laws on the issue but according to interpretation of some circles neither Governor can ask the CM to seek a vote of confidence nor the opposition can file a no-trust motion during continuation of the session of the Assembly.

This point might involve judicial interpretation prolonging the entire process of dissolution of the assemblies.

The decision of the PTI to dissolve KP Assembly (where there are no major hurdles in the way of the move) would also prove or otherwise the sincerity of its purpose.