The party of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan was sidelined in a vote in the Punjab provincial assembly on Friday, despite winning by-elections there earlier this week.
Hamza Sharif, the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, was up for election to determine whether he still enjoyed majority support in the provincial legislature.
On July 17, Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 15 out of 20 seats in by-elections in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, to form a new provincial government.With 178 seats, together with 10 from its ally, the Pakistan Muslim League, the PTI now has a majority in the 371-seat assembly.
Pervez Elahi won 186 votes in Friday’s vote, but 10 of those votes were invalidated by Dost Mohammad Mazari, the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly.According to Mr Mazari’s statement on national television, 10 Pakistan Muslim League members, including Shujaat Hussain, a Khan ally, broke party rules by ignoring their leader’s order to abstain.
In Pakistan, lawmakers are disqualified from voting if they vote against the instructions of their party.
It was not possible to reach Mr Hussain for comment.The election ended with Hamza Sharif winning 179 votes, retaining his position.In his appeal, Khan claimed his opponents had resorted to political maneuvering in Punjab and urged his countrymen to oppose Mr Mazari’s decision.Major cities across Pakistan were filled with protesters on Friday night, and the rallies were peaceful.According to PTI’s official Twitter account, videos and photos show large protests in Karachi, Lahore, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.