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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Deputy Speaker’s ruling declared void, Ilahi declared Chief Minister Punjab

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared its verdict in the deputy speaker ruling case. The ruling of the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari, and Hamza Shehbaz's oath has been declared void, whereas Pervez Ilahi has been declared the new Chief Minister of Punjab.

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After much delay, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has finally announced its verdict in the Deputy Speaker ruling case. The ruling of the deputy speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari that disregarded the ten votes of PML-Q has been over turned by the Supreme court, and resultantly Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi have been declared the new Chief Minister of Punjab while Hamza Shehbaz has been ordered to vacate the office immediately.

“We find that the understanding and implementation of the said short judgment as well as the provisions of Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution by the Deputy Speaker, Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Lahore (Respondent No.1) was patently incorrect and erroneous and cannot be sustained. The governance of the Province of Punjab in accordance with the Constitution has been subverted whereby the fundamental rights of the people have been seriously infringed”, the judgment of the Supreme Court reads.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court has also ordered Governor Punjab to administer oath to the newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab at 11:30 pm tonight. In case if the governor Punjab is unable to administer the oath, then the President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi must administer the oath. Oath of Hamza Shehbaz as the Chief Minister has been declared null and void.

“We direct the Governor, Punjab to arrange and administer oath of office to the petitioner as the duly elected Chief Minister, Punjab in accordance with law and the Constitution not later than 11:30 pm tonight i.e. 26.07.2022. In case, the Governor, Punjab is unable or unwilling to administer such oath, the President of Pakistan may forthwith administer oath of office to the petitioner as Chief Minister, Punjab” the decision of the Supreme Court reads.

The court has also ordered to send copies of the decision to all concerned immediately so that the decision can be acted upon immediately.

The 3-member bench of the Supreme Court that heard and decided the petition was comprised of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar.

PTI welcomed the decision as the official twitter account of PTI termed the decision as victory of the people.

Coalition govt turns against Supreme Court

A major political crisis unfolded in Punjab when the PA Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari dismissed 10 votes of PML-Q MPAs on the basis of a last-minute letter by PML-Q party head President Chaudhry Shujaat directing party lawmakers to support PML-N candidate Hamza Shehbaz instead of his brother PTI and PML-Q candidate Parvez Elahi.

Dost Mazari rejected the votes of PML-Q MPAs while citing Article 63A of the Constitution which led to Hamza Shehbaz’s victory even though he had fewer votes than Parvez Elahi. Moreover, Dost Mazari’s ruling prompted Parvez Elahi to file a petition against his controversial ruling in the Supreme Court.

Important to note that the Supreme Court of Pakistan, back in May, had ruled the votes of dissident MPs, cast against their parliamentary party’s directives, cannot be counted. The apex court, issuing its verdict on the presidential reference seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution related to defecting lawmakers of the PTI, said that the law cannot be interpreted in isolation.

Read more: Supreme Court demands answers from Dost Mazari

During the hearing on Parvez Elahi’s petition, the Supreme Court said that the deputy speaker is answerable on what basis did he give the ruling. Moreover, it directed Hamza Shehbaz to work as a “trustee Chief Minister” until the SC announces its verdict.

Hamza Shehbaz had been ordered to work as a “trustee CM of Punjab”, an arrangement which was not acceptable to the PDM coalition government, hence they demanded that a full bench hear the case. PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz even went as far as to harshly criticize the SC. However, the SC rejected the government’s demand for a full bench and the three-member bench of the Supreme Court heard and decided the case.