Shoaib Akhtar, on his own YouTube channel called it “fight,” regretting the absence of it from the Pakistani performance in Sri Lanka.
Tuesday’s decision of Pakistan’s Supreme Court that the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) leader, Pervez Elahi, would be the new Chief Minister of the dominant Punjab province is doubtless a shot in the arm for ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan. Mr Elahi is an ally of Khan and will replace Hamza Shahbaz of the PML (N). This is the second major victory for the former Prime Minister after the triumph of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the ruling coalition in the Punjab by-elections. In a brief order, the Supreme Court declared all the appointments made by Hamza Shahbaz as “illegal”. The members of his cabinet were told to vacate their offices. The advisers and assistants appointed by Hamza were also ordered to be relieved of their duties.
It needs to be underlined that Hamza Shehbaz, son of the incumbent Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, had defeated Pervez Elahi after the Deputy Speaker rejected 10 PML (Q) votes in the contest for chief minister. Earlier, the Supreme Court had allowed Hamza to remain as “trustee” Chief Minister of Punjab till the court resumed hearing. In Tuesday’s order, the court observed that it cannot leave a province without a chief executive. The coalition government had demanded a full court bench to hear the case, but the apex court, after hearing arguments from both sides for nearly eight hours, decided not to form a full court Bench, observing that the same court would hear the case.
Since the Supreme Court decided not to form a full Bench, the ruling coalition and the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) decided to boycott the apex court hearing. Politically and at any rate in Punjab, in the aftermath of the resounding victory in the by-election, Imran Khan had called upon the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikander Sultan Raja, to resign. The former PM was emphatic that his party, PTI, had won the election despite what he called the misuse of state machinery. Pakistan’s ruling PML-N party is set to lose its provincial government in Punjab after the PTI’s decisive victory in the by-elections. The PTI, led by Imran, won 15 seats, whereas Sharif’s PML-N managed to secure just four. One seat went to an Independent.
The political crisis in Punjab began in February when the vote of confidence was taking shape against Imran Khan. To prevent PML-N from taking charge of the province, the PTI had offered the Chief Minister’s position to the PML-Q, to ensure it did not join its opponents. As it turned out, Usman Buzdar, the PTI’s Chief Minister at that time, had resigned from his seat to make way for Elahi as the joint PTI-PML (Q) candidate. While one chapter in this grisly political saga might have ended, the uncertainties plaguing the nation persist. Pakistan’s political class must get its act together.