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Friday, May 26, 2023

LHC sends notice to Hamza on petitions challenging his election

The Lahore High Court has issued notices to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz and other respondents seeking their reply on petitions filed by the PTI and PML-Q, challenging Hamza's election as the Punjab chief minister.

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The Lahore High Court has issued notices to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz and other respondents seeking their reply on petitions filed by the PTI and PML-Q’s Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, requesting the court to declare his election as CM “illegal” and to restrain him from working in that capacity.

The petition was filed by the PTI MPAs Mohammad Sibtain Khan, Zainab Umair, Mian Mohammad Aslam Iqbal, Syed Abbas Ali Shah, and Ahsan Saleem Baryar on Thursday. Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly speaker Elahi submitted his petition today.

Mohammad Ameer Bhatti, Lahore High Court Chief Justice, clubbed the petitions together.

During the hearing, PTI lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar maintained that to win the election for the chief minister, a candidate requires 186 votes.

Read more: Hamza Shehbaz finally takes oath as Punjab Chief Minister

During his election on April 16, he received 197 votes, including from 25 dissident PTI MPAs, which were crucial for his victory.

Barrister Zafar said the Supreme Court ruled while interpreting Article 63(A) of the Constitution that dissidents’ votes cannot be counted.

Subsequently, the court issued notices to the Punjab chief secretary, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari, Punjab governor’s principal secretary, and Punjab Assembly’s secretary.

Justice Bhatti also inquired when the SC’s interpretation of Article 63-A would be applicable.

“It has to be seen if the actions that have been taken before the SC’s ruling can be nullified or not,” the judge remarked.

The court issued notices to the parties, adjourning the hearing till May 25.

Elahi’s plea

In his petition, Punjab Assembly speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi requested the court to declare that Hamza Shehbaz had failed to secure the requisite number of votes required to be elected as the CM in light of the SC’s interpretation of the Article 63-A stating the votes of defecting lawmakers would not be counted.

He claimed that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari declared Hamza CM-elect unjustly.

The plea requests the court to restrict Hamza from working as the Punjab chief minister till a final decision in this case. It also seeks the cancellation of Hamza’s oath as the CM and orders a new election for the CM.

PTI’s petition

PTI said the session held for conducting the election witnessed “immense chaos and most unfortunate events.”

Read more: ECP de-seats 25 dissident MPAs of PTI

PTI’s petition said, “Deputy Speaker Mazari took ‘unlawful’ aid from the police and provincial officials for holding a ‘sham and fraudulent’ election, following which he communicated that Hamza had won,” Dawn reported.

It noted that votes of 25 dissident PTI MPAs were also counted in the final tally for Hamza, contending that the then governor Cheema had refused to accept the election results; Hamza was administered the oath due to “judicial overreach.”

The petition requested the court to declare Hamza’s election void ab initio (illegal) and declare the chief minister’s office vacant.