Two budget sessions are being held simultaneously in Punjab today — one led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, and the other being chaired by Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leader, at the Punjab Assembly.
The unprecedented move comes after the Punjab government failed to produce a budget despite two days of sessions being held at the Assembly for this purpose. Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will be leading the session at Aiwan-i-Iqbal today.
During the first budget session of the Punjab Assembly on Monday, a daylong deadlock ensued after Speaker Pervaiz Elahi refused to conduct the session or allow the presentation of the budget. He demanded that the inspector general of police (IGP) first apologize to him and withdraw all cases lodged against the PTI and PML-Q over the violence during the April 16 session, when Hamza Shehbaz was elected chief minister.
For six hours the opposition and the treasury held meetings which were briefly followed by the resumption of house proceedings, until the Speaker declared that he would not let the proceedings continue until the IGP and the chief secretary were summoned to the Assembly, and were present in the gallery.
The sessions remained halted till 11 PM on Monday, at which point Elahi adjourned the session till 1 PM on Monday, without allowing the treasury to present the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Proceedings again remained halted during the 40th session of the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday, when later in the day the Governor of Punjab Balighur Rehman cancelled the ongoing 40th session, and summoned the 41st session at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Wednesday June 15 at 2 PM.
Speaker Pervaiz Elahi chose to ignore the governor’s orders and continued the 40th session anyway, and later at night while speaking to the media, he said the Aiwan-i-Iqbal session was illegal and unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, other PTI leaders like Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry have criticized the parallel session being held at Aiwan-i-Iqbal.