Inside the Punjab Assembly, police launch a crackdown

Inside the Punjab Assembly, police launch a crackdown and detain five PTI politicians.

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After Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari wrote a letter to the Inspector General of Police, police launched an operation inside the Punjab Assembly on Saturday and arrested five Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPs (IGP).

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) lawmakers threw “lotas” at Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari as he arrived to chair the session for the election of the Chief Minister, causing chaos in the Punjab Assembly.

The PTI lawmakers created a ruckus in the Assembly when they brought “lotas” into the chamber and began chanting “lota, lota (turncoats)” at dissident PTI members who had left the party to support the opposition.

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Despite the presence of security guards, lawmakers from the ruling party threw “lotas” at Mazari and then attacked him. Mazari was also slapped by PTI members, after which Sergeant-At-Arms escorted him away.

The session was supposed to begin at 11:30 a.m., but it has yet to begin despite the passage of more than six hours, as government lawmakers — PTI and PML-Q — resorted to violence.

In a statement, Deputy Speaker Mazari said the election would be held at all costs and that he would return to the assembly building later.

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“I will carry out my constitutional and legal obligations; the attack against me was planned, not spontaneous,” the deputy speaker said.

“This is not Gujrat, where you can do whatever you want,” he said, referring to Pervaiz Elahi. This is the Punjab Assembly, and we abide by the law and the constitution.”

In an apparent reference to the LHC’s decision, PA Speaker Elahi told foreign media that the courts are not allowed to intervene in the affairs of Parliament under Article 69 of the Constitution. “Courts have no say in what happens in Parliament.”

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Elahi claimed he gave the deputy speaker additional powers while he was running for chief minister, but when Mazari “misused” the powers, he withdrew them, which the LHC later restored.

He claimed that police have not entered any assembly since Pakistan’s founding and that their interference is unconstitutional.

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