LAHORE: If the Punjab governor says that since he did not sign the advice for dissolution of the assembly, he cannot give election date, he should also clarify under what authority he formed the caretaker government, says former chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

Talking to politicians and bar members, who called on him on Wednesday, he said the governor should also clarify under what authority he wrote letters for consultation to the chief minister and the opposition leader with regard to the caretaker set-up.

Mr Elahi says Governor Balighur Rehman’s stance leaves a trail of questions, which should be answered by him.

“Like, in what capacity did he (the governor) write a letter to the speaker to form a parliamentary committee? In what capacity did he take oath of the caretaker cabinet?”

He says the Punjab governor is running away from the election date using lame excuses.

“If the governor does not accept the constitutional responsibility, then the caretaker setup established by him will also lose its validity. When the governor is dissociating himself from the dissolution of the assembly and the election date, it means that constitutional process gets stalled. The caretaker setup becomes illegal and so do all its decisions and actions. Then cases should be filed against the caretaker set-up for illegal actions,” says the ex-chief minister.

Mr Elahi warns that those who take steps beyond the Constitution should be prepared to face action under Article 6.

“The nation will not tolerate any attempt to violate the Constitution. Punjab governor and Election Commission should know that violation of the Constitution is a crime of the highest order.”

Mr Elahi says that out of fear of Imran Khan, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and its allies have resorted to subvert the Constitution.

“The elections after the dissolution of the assembly is a constitutional obligation and the governor or the Election Commission cannot run away from it.”

He also warned the government that the judiciary won’t allow any attempt to subvert the Constitution, nor would lawyers and bar associations let such a blatant violation of the Constitution happen.

Those who called on Mr Elahi included former law minister Basharat Raja, Nadir Duggal Advocate, former Bar president Asim Cheema, Zulfiqar Ghuman Advocate, Safdar Hayat Bosal, former Bar president Sikandar Hayat, Sarmad Ghani Chattha and Tayyab.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2023

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