LAHORE - PML-N’s Mian Shahbaz Sharif and joint candidate of PTI and PML-Q Mian Mahmoodur Rashid filed their nomination papers for the slot of Punjab chief minister on Tuesday. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be carried out on Wednesday and after clearance of the papers, the Punjab Assembly will elect leader of the house on Thursday (tomorrow). Shahbaz Sharif accompanied by Rana Sanaullah, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Muhammad Iqbal Chunner, Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and others reached Punjab Assembly where he filed nomination papers with Assembly Secretary Maqsoon Ahmad. Mian Mahmoodur Rashid came to the secretary along with Samina Khawar Hayat and others to file his nomination papers. The Punjab Assembly session for the election of chief minister will be presided over by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal on June 6. The total strength of the Punjab Assembly members is 371 of which 358 have been notified so far by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PML-N leads other parties with a huge margin. The present strength of its members is 305 followed by 26 of the PTI, nine of the PML-Q, seven of the PPP, two of the PML-Z and one each of the JI, BNAP, and JUI-F. Majority of independent MPAs have also joined the N-League which made history on Monday when the 332-member house elected Rana Iqbal as speaker with 297 votes and Sher Ali Gorchani as his deputy with 293. Shahbaz Sharif is sure to become the chief minister and is expected to get more votes than his party’s actual strength.The PPP neither fielded any candidate for the contest of the provincial chief executive nor did it decide to support any candidate. Provincial general secretary of the party Tanvir Ashraf Kaira said that no party had sought their support for the CM election.Talking to the media persons, Shahbaz said the process of transition of power will complete at all levels by today (Wednesday). He said “Now it is the time for us to fulfil our pledges made with the people during the elections.”

Published in The Nation newspaper on 05-Jun-2013