On Wednesday, Lahore High Court released a short notice in which it instructed Omar Cheema, governor Punjab, to “ensure the completion” of the oath taking process “on or before” April 28. The court concluded that all the enabling articles or provisions of the 1973 constitution “suggest prompt formation of Governments”.
The court concluded that it did not “find any vacuum or space in the Constitution for causing any delay in administration of oath required under Constitution ” and subsequently instructed the governor to either administer the oath himself or nominate someone to administer it in his absence. The court stated in its short notice that the delay in administering the oath of the elected Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif was “not only against democratic norms but also against the scheme of the Constitution.”
The court however failed to clarify what it meant by the “scheme” of the constitution. Moreover the court advised the President who is mandated by law to fulfil his constitutional obligation and play a role “to facilitate the expeditious administration of oath”. Netizens took to this and questioned Lahore High Courts decision and whether it could instruct the President.
— Enkidu (@Fallibilist1) April 27, 2022
Others called upon its attention the long-standing Model Town case in which the victims and their families were still “painstakingly demanding justice”.
LHC calling out President and Governor for not bowing in allegiance to a self-selected Chief Minister is peak ignominy
8 years to the Model Town incident and the victims are still painstakingly demanding justice! Koi sharam? Koi lehaz? #MarchAgainstImportedGovt
— reeeeem (@hareeemkhalid) April 26, 2022
Finally the court underscored that the province was without a functional government for the past 25 days since Buzdar left the office and ordered prompt action from all relevant authorities. It is pertinent to mention that the President previously delayed the nomination of another individual to perform to administer the oath taking ceremony.
Governor punjab refuses to administer Hamza’s oath
To clarify, the governor, addressing a press conference a day after Hamza Shahbaz was elected – in a session which reflected no semblance of a democratic values – by the Punjab Assembly as they new Chief Minister of Punjab, refused to administer his oath. The governor raised questions regarding the validity of the proceedings and the subsequent election of Hamza Shahbaz as the Chief Minister Punjab. He intimated in the press conference that “I have written to the Punjab advocate general and the Punjab Assembly speaker to seek their opinion on the assembly secretary’s report, LHC directions and other facts to make up my mind whether to hold the oath-taking ceremony at the Governor House or not,”.
Shortly after his news conference, Marriyum Aurangzeb, minister for Information and Broadcasting said in a presser that the governor had been removed by the Prime Minister. The governor however refuted the claim and said that only the President had the discretionary power to remove him from his seat.
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Hamza Shahbaz moved a petition before the court asking it to intervene. The PML-N leader claimed that the governor’s actions were based on “malafide” intent and termed his actions as “contraption of abuse of command of the Constitution and process of law”.
President administers oath
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman and the grandson of the founder of the party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, took oath to become the 37th foreign minister of Pakistan. The oath taking ceremony was televised on several media platforms and saw the President, who had previously refused to administer the oaths of the PM Sharif and his cabinet, administer his oath.