Punjab has been marred by a political crisis since March this year as the battle for the provincial chief minister’s slot continued between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
However, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari has played a crucial role in this time.
So let’s take a look at Mazari’s political trajectory and role in the ongoing political crisis:
Mazari, who was born in Karachi, became a member of the National Assembly on a PPP ticket in 2008. But in 2013, he parted ways with the party and joined PTI in 2015.
He was appointed as PA deputy speaker in 2018.
The political crisis in the province was started on March 28 when former Punjab chief minister Sardar Usman Buzdar resigned following the submission of then opposition’s no-confidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan.
The former premier had chosen PML-Q’s Chaudhry Parvez Elahi over Buzdar. Ultimately, the no-trust motion was successful and the Punjab CM position was up for grabs.
On April 2, when a session of the assembly was called, the event was marred by an altercation between women MPAs. Hence, the session, which was chaired by Mazari, was adjourned till April 7.
Later, Mazari’s party leader submitted a no-confidence motion against him, seeking his removal. The PTI had claimed that Mazari had accepted a “good offer” from the PML-N.
PML-N’s Hamza took the matter to court where the chief justice of the Lahore High Court restored Mazari’s position and ordered him to chair the session on April 16.
On April 16, after an hours-long delay, the deputy speaker conducted the elections in which Hamza emerged victorious.
However, when the Supreme Court had ordered the run-off elections of the Punjab chief minister, it was Mazari who once again was responsible for conducting the Punjab Assembly session.
During the second round of CM elections on July 22, Mazari rejected all 10 votes cast by the PML-Q on the pretext that they had violated the orders of their party chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
He then announced that Hamza had won the election of chief minister, since the 10 deducted votes reduced Elahi’s tally to 176, while Hamza remained on top with 179.
Mazari’s ruling was immediately challenged before the top court.
Today, the court declared Mazari’s ruling as illegal and ordered the Punjab governor to administer oath to Elahi.