Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Hamza Shehbaz has reportedly refused to step down from his position following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to de-seat 25 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dissident Member of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) who voted for Hamza.

PTI says it will send the CM home through legal means in line with the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) and ECP’s decisions.

“The game for the fake CM is over after de-seating of the 25 lotas (turncoats),” Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Moonis Elahi said. He added that after losing the majority in the House, Hamza has no moral or legal grounds to cling to the office.

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Moreover, the Opposition — PTI-PML-Q alliance — sees a run-off election in the coming days claiming Hamza cannot “illegally” hold the office for long.

It is pertinent to mention that the allocation of five vacant reserved seats will assume an important role if the run-off election is held. According to legal experts, ECP will now distribute these seats as per the current strength of each party in the Punjab Assembly, which means if the PTI gets the most share, it may be able to get the CM post.

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said Hamza Shehbaz is not going to resign and still has a majority in the Punjab Assembly. Similarly, PML-N deputy secretary-general Attaullah Tarar said that the ECP’s decision has no impact on Hamza’s office.

Tarar claimed the PML-N enjoys the support of 177 members in PA against 168 of the PTI-PML-Q combined. He also claimed the PML-N will get three of the five reserved seats, which would take its tally to 180.

The PTI-PML-Q joint candidate for the CM’s slot and the current PA Speaker Chaudhry Parvaiz Elahi said, “I am Imran Khan’s candidate and after taking oath as the CM, I will dissolve the assemblies if he asks me.”

The Punjab Assembly’s current strength is 346 members: PTI has 158 lawmakers, PML-Q has 10, PML-N 165, PPP seven, five independents, and one Rah-e-Haq Party.

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