ISLAMABAD: Punjab Assem­bly Spea­ker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Information Minister Marri­yum Aurangzeb for allegedly threatening to make Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmakers disappear before the upcoming chief minister’s election.

In a petition moved through senior counsel Faisal Fareed, Mr Elahi accused the respondents for violating the July 1 Supreme Court order for holding of ‘run-off polls’ for the office of Punjab CM on July 22 and during the interregnum period Hamza Sharif remain within the confines of the constitution and the law without incidence of harassment of political opponents or witch-hunt.

The contempt petition argued that after PTI’s victory in the July 17 by-polls for 20 seats according to unofficial results, the petitioner and his allies had secured the requisite majority to form next government in Punjab as decided by the sovereigns of the state the public at large. It urged the SC to summon the alleged contemnor and award punishment to them for violating the court directions.

In pursuant to the July 1 order, Mr Elahi claimed, preparation for Punjab CM election was under way without any hurdle and he was determined to hold the election and business of assembly in a peaceful, just, transparent manner in accordance with the constitution and the law strictly as well as in accordance with letter and spirit of the court order.

Petition draws SC attention to interior minister’s statement

However, he alleged, the respondents after losing majority in the Punjab Assembly became unnerved and were showing extreme anger and frustration. He further alleged the respondents while acting in a reckless, unconstitutional and unlawful manner have threatened to “remove members” belonging to the PTI and its allies by blatantly flouting the court directions.

According to the petition, the statement of interior minister Rana Sanaullah “abuses, interferes with and obstructs the process” of the court, as the same was to be considered as obstruction to the implementation of the court’s order and it amounted to creating constitutional vacuum, anomaly or complication, and would keep the citizens of the Punjab deprived of due representation and governance.

While recalling the SC direction that the state functionaries would refrain from any interference, inducement or influence in the affairs to any person (natural as well as legal) in the process of by-election, the ‘threatening’ statements by the incumbent interior minister caused great fear and hostility towards the members of the allied parties, Mr Elahi alleged.

The incumbent CM, who is also a contender in the run-off election, had assured the SC about ensuring peaceful election of the chief minister on behalf of his party. Therefore, he was responsible for any disregard of the order passed by this court in letter and spirit.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2022

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