LAHORE: Frustrated by the ‘tactics’ of Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema, chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz has decided to file a petition in the Lahore High Court on Tuesday (today) requesting it to order that he be administered his oath of office without any further delay.
After consulting the PML-N’s legal brains, the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to take his case back to the LHC with a hope that he would get relief.
On the other hand, the PML-Q and PTI parliamentary parties have also started consultations with constitutional experts to challenge the “unconstitutional election of the chief minister” last week.
The Q League-PTI coalition is of the view that Hamza is not a constitutionally elected chief minister as his opponent, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, and his supporting lawmakers were kept out of the voting process through a ‘planned move’.
PML-Q, PTI consult experts to challenge ‘unconstitutional’ election of CM
“Hamza Shehbaz will file a petition in the LHC on Tuesday with a prayer to issue directions to the authority concerned for his oath-taking as chief minister,” PML-N’s deputy secretary general Attaullah Tarar told Dawn.
He said the LHC had directed the deputy speaker to conduct the chief minister’s election on April 16. “Oath-taking of the newly elected chief minister was also part of that direction of the court which was denied by the governor. Thus he violated the court’s order. We want the LHC to get its order implemented,” Tarar said.
At the moment, the petitioner (Hamza Shehbaz) was not seeking action against the governor for his “illegal act” of refusing to administer oath to him, Mr Tarar added. “We want immediate oath-taking of the new chief minister.”
On Sunday, Governor Cheema had declined to administer the oath to Hamza on the plea that the Punjab Assembly secretary’s report, the LHC’s instructions and “the facts presented” to him raised questions about the validity of the chief minister’s election.
“I have written to the Punjab advocate general and the Punjab Assembly speaker to seek their opinion on the secretary’s report, LHC’s directives and other facts to make up my mind whether to hold the oath-taking ceremony or not,” the governor told a presser on Sunday.
Advocate General Ahmad Awais told Dawn that he would give his opinion to the governor on Tuesday (today) whether the chief minister’s election had been conducted in accordance with the law or not.
On his part, the Punjab governor has sought legal opinion on the resignation of Usman Buzdar from the office of chief minister as there was an opinion that he had not submitted the resignation to the governor.
“A new constitutional crisis may arise if Mr Buzdar is reinstated,” a party insider said. “The PTI-Q League coalition will not make let the ‘junior Shehbaz’ grab the top slot easily.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had submitted a summary to President Dr Arif Alvi to remove Cheema, but instead he asked the governor to continue working.
Deputy speaker’s question
Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari has questioned the “suspended secretary’s” right to prepare a report on the hooliganism during the CM’s election at the weekend.
In his report, PA Secretary Mohammad Khan Bhatti said the deputy speaker had entered the house with his guards as well as his police detail. They manhandled a number of legislators, the report said.
“The deputy speaker called the deputy commissioner and the DIG Operations, who summoned a heavy contingent of police despite the fact that only the sergeants-at-arms had the powers to do so on the floor of the House.
“Mazari conducted the election process from the Officers’ Box with a megaphone, which was contrary to the Assembly rules and procedures.”
Speaker Parvez Elahi said in a statement on Monday all the powers delegated to the deputy speaker were void as soon as the Punjab Assembly session ended on April 16. “Dost Mazari had exceeded his authority. All the officers of the PA he suspended have been reinstated. In fact, he had no powers to suspend them,” Parvez Elahi said.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2022