Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly will elect the province’s new chief minister today.
On April 13, the opposition leader of the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shahbaz, filed a petition seeking help to hold fair and transparent elections. Shahbaz is in the running for the position of Punjab’s Chief Minister and competing with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) and the assembly’s Speaker. Last week, Elahi faced a no-confidence motion after being nominated for Chief Minister by the now-ousted Prime Minister and chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan. Khan was succeeded as Prime Minister by Shehbaz Sharif, leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz’s father.
Given the nationwide violent protest rallies led by Khan, which allege that the recent ouster is part of a foreign conspiracy, expect Lahore to be the theater of Pakistan’s deepening political chaos. For the moment, PML-Q’s chances of securing Chief Minister in Punjab appear feeble. Despite this, Khan, along with Elahi, may devise new strategies to strengthen their plan of securing the seat. Consequently, this would likely be complicated by the interest of the security establishment and Prime Minister Sharif, thus sustaining the political chaos within Pakistan.
Promod is an Analyst on the Analysis team.