Chasing simple majority in PA session without PTI, 'Q'.

LAHORE -- The Punjab Assembly's marathon 40th session, that saw the controversial election for the chief minister on April 16, would resume its proceedings on Friday afternoon (today) for a do-over of the election of the chief executive, sending both treasury and opposition parties into late night huddles to devise their strategies for the 'big day'.

Moreover, Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz is gladly going for a fresh election as he is confident he carries a 'clear simple majority'.

The opposition PTI and PML-Q coalition, on the other hand, has decided not to participate in today's election, maintaining their presence will validate the process.

A Lahore High Court larger bench decision to 'resume' the 40th session of the assembly has aborted the 41st session separately called by the opposition and treasury at the Punjab Assembly building and Aiwan-i-Iqbal, respectively. The ruling coalition had also presented and passed the Punjab budget for fiscal 2022-23 at its session.

The 40th session had been earlier called by former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar on April 2 to hold the chief minister's election immediately after accepting the resignation tendered by former CM Usman Buzdar on April 1. The CM's election was marred by a scuffle between women MPAs from both sides of the aisle after some PTI lawmakers (then in treasury) had chosen to sit with the then opposition PML-N. The session was adjourned by the deputy speaker for April 6, but the election could eventually take place on April 16 - which was boycotted by the PTI and PML-Q over the presence of heavy contingents of police on the assembly floor.

Now, the Punjab Assembly Secretariat has taken preventive measures and SOPs and instructed all members of the house not to bring guests and deposit their mobile phones and handbags with the security. The members have been asked to bring along their national identity and assembly cards for an unhindered entry to the house.

CM Hamza held a marathon meeting with PML-N MPAs, who have been lodged at a local hotel, and finalised a strategy to deal with the opposition and hold a smooth election on Friday. The PML-N chief whip said the ruling coalition enjoyed the support of 177 MPAs - most of them staying at the hotel.

Hamza is confident of being re-elected to the office as he had a clear simple majority. In case of a run-off election, the PML-N-led ruling coalition could claim a majority of nine votes because the PTI had not yet been offered the five...

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