The Punjab Assembly (PA) stood dissolved on Saturday as Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman excused himself from the process, saying he could not become a part of the move.
A notification from the governor, available with Dawn.com, for the appointment of the caretaker chief minister was dispatched to Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and Leader of the Opposition in the PA Hamza Shahbaz. It said the PA and provincial cabinet stood dissolved under Article 112(1) of the Constitution.
According to Article 112(1), the assembly stands automatically "dissolved at the expiration of forty-eight hours after the chief minister has so advised" if the governor does not do it.
The notification said that the caretaker CM would be appointed by the governor in consultation with the two leaders. The governor called on them to provide the names of their nominees for the position by 10:10pm on January 17 (Tuesday).
The governor said that he remained available for the discharge of his constitutional duties if the two desired to call on him or have a meeting between the three.
Rehman earlier, after distancing himself from the dissolution process, said that he would "rather let the Constitution and law take its own course".
"Doing so will not hamper any legal process as Constitution clearly provides a way forward,” he tweeted.
On Thursday, CM Elahi had formally advised the governor to dissolve the provincial legislature hours after retaining the confidence of a majority of lawmakers in the PA, in a session that began on Wednesday and ended in the early hours of Thursday.
The move caps weeks of speculation, legal wrangling and a public spectacle of the differences between the ruling allies in Punjab and the federal government over whether the assembly would be disbanded or not.
On December 17, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had announced that his governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would dissolve their assemblies to pave the way for fresh elections.
Political activity gears up for elections
Meanwhile, PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry criticised the governor for removing himself from the process and said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would now be confronted in the political arena.
He also thanked the party's MPAs for their support in paving the way towards elections despite obstacles.
Separately, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif instructed party leaders and workers to prepare for elections in Punjab.
He also instructed PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif to establish a parliamentary board.
"Go ahead with full passion, confidence, preparation and strength," he said.
Rehman had said on Friday that the process for the dissolution of the assembly would happen step by step, terming it to be a “lengthy process”.
Meanwhile, at a Friday huddle with senior PML-N leaders, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had discussed the party’s future action plan regarding the assembly's dissolution, which the ruling PDM coalition had been trying to avoid.
Simultaneously on Friday, Chaudhry had urged Rehman to dissolve the PA forthwith instead of waiting for the 48-hour deadline to pass.
During a media talk, Chaudhry had said contact was being initiated with Hamza to begin discussions over the caretaker setup and that Elahi would be forwarding him a few names.
Matter of KP assembly dissolution
Earlier in the day, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan announced that he would be dissolving the KP assembly by the evening, soon after the PA was officially dissolved.
However, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, during an appearance on Hum News show Hum Meher Bokhari Kay Sath, said that the KP assembly would be dissolved within a week of the PA's dissolution.