LAHORE: A five-member larger bench of the Lahore High Court constituted to decide the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) intra court appeal (ICA) challenging an order of a single bench for oath taking of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz would resume its hearing on May 12.

Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan would head the larger bench with Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

Sibtain Khan and 16 other MPAs of the PTI filed the appeal challenging the order by the single bench on a third petition of newly-elected chief minister Hamza Shehbaz against the delay in his oath taking by the president and the governor.

The appeal said neither the president and governor were impleaded as respondents in the constitutional petition, nor was any notice of hearing issued enabling them to controvert the contentions raised by the respondent (Hamza) by filing a reply.

It said important legal and constitutional questions raised on behalf of the PTI regarding the maintainability of Hamza’s petition had neither been noted nor repelled with reasons in impugned judgment. It pleaded that the high court had no authority to nominate any specific person, including speaker of the national assembly, for administration of oath to the newly elected chief minister, thus the impugned judgment, being in violation of various provisions of the Constitution as well as applicable law, was unsustainable.

DEFECTION CASE: Justice Shujaat Ali Khan of the Lahore High Court would resume on May 13 the hearing of a petition of the PTI against the alleged delay by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in disqualification of its MPAs for committing a defection in the election of the chief minister of Punjab.

Earlier, the hearing was fixed for May 17, however, the judge allowed an application for an early hearing filed by the petitioner.

On previous hearing, the ECP had told the court that the reference filed by the PTI for the disqualification of its MPAs was being scrutinised. The commission said it would take at least 30 days to decide the reference sent by the party.

PTI Punjab parliamentary leader Sibtain Khan filed the petition through Advocate Amir Saeed Rawn. The counsel argued that the party sent a reference to the ECP for the disqualification of its 26 MPAs for committing defection in the election of the chief minister. He said the ECP had been delaying the process of disqualification of the dissident MPAs.

He asked the court to order the ECP to expedite the disqualification process and also suspend the membership of the respondent MPAs till a final decision of the petition.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2022

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