LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday imposed Rs100,000 fine each on the Punjab government and Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz for not submitting replies to the petitions against the latter’s election as Punjab chief minister.

As Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti resumed hearing of the petitions, Additional Advocate General (AAG) Jawwad Yaqoob sought time to submit a reply on behalf of the Punjab government.

Similarly, a counsel on behalf of the chief minister also sought time to file a reply to the petitions.

The chief justice expressed his displeasure over non-submission of the replies and observed that the order passed by the court should have been implemented by the respondents.

He observed that the case could not be proceeded further without hearing the respondents.

He imposed a fine of Rs100,000 each on the government and the chief minister with a direction to the counsel to deposit the amount with the dispensary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association.

The chief justice adjourned further hearing till May 30.

The petitions filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-Q contended that the respondent chief minister lost majority in the house after the interpretation of Article 63A of the Constitution by the Supreme Court.

They said the election conducted by the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker was in line with the orders passed by the high court.

They said the assembly session was held after severe thrashing of the PTI and PML-Q members wherein Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a candidate for the chief minister`s office, was also roughed up and injured.

The counsel said the impugned election in its entirety was a sham and a mockery.

The counsel said Hamza was declared as returned candidate by obtaining the highest votes, including 25 from the PTI defectors. They argued that the election of the respondent was liable to be declared unlawful in view of the opinion given by the apex court about votes of the defectors.

They asked the court to order a fresh election for the post of the chief minister in the province.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2022

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