Over the past three months, Punjab, Pakistan’s most politically important province, was in grip of uncertainty.
First, the election for the new chief minister, after Usman Buzdar resigned, kept being delayed. Finally, when Hamza Shahbaz was elected with 197 votes on April 16, his election was challenged in court.
Thereafter began months-long back and forth between courts and politicians, in the midst of which 25 members of the Punjab Assembly were unseated and 20 by-elections were held in the province.
It took two rounds of voting, and the Supreme Court to weigh in, for Punjab to elect Pervez Elahi as the new chief minister on July 26, thus ending Shahbaz’s short term in office.
What did Hamza Shahbaz’s 87 days look like? Here is a timeline:
April 16: Hamza Shahbaz is elected chief minister with 197 votes
April 30 : Takes oath as chief minister
May 1: Makes his first visit to the chief minister’s office. On the same day makes a surprise visit to Bahawalpur
May 3: Goes on a private visit to Qatar to meet family members
May 7: Visits Faisalabad
May 9: Surprise visit to Pakpattan
May 15: Visits Gujrat
May 21: Orders release of PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari, who was picked up by Punjab’s anti-corruption unit
May 31: Hamza Shahbaz’s new cabinet takes oath
June 13: The cabinet approves the budget for Punjab
June 15: Announces free medicines in BHU and THQ hospitals from July 1
June 24: Approves a new local govt system for Punjab
June 30: Lahore High Court annuls the election of the chief minister, orders a recount
June 1: The Supreme Court orders for the election of the chief minister to be held on July 22
July 17: By-polls are held in the province in 20 constituencies, majority of which are won by the PTI
22 July: Hamza Shehbaz is elected the chief minister again, this time with 179 votes as the deputy speaker disregards the votes of the rival candidate
23 July: A new oath-taking ceremony is held for Shehbaz
23 July: PTI again challenges the election of Hamza Shehbaz in the Supreme Court, which names him a “trustee” chief minister for the time being
24 July: A 37-member provincial cabinet takes oath
26 July: The Supreme Court declares the July 22 election null and void, declares Pervaiz Elahi as CM-elect