On Thursday, Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, addressing a press conference, revealed that he would file a reference against the Lahore High Court Judge, Justice Jawad Hassan – the judge who ordered the Speaker of National Assembly Raja Pervez Asraf to administer the oath of Hamza Shahbaz as the chief minister of Punjab – for his “unconstitutional decision.” The Governor stated that “The decision to administer oath was made by betraying the judiciary.” He further underlined that the parliament enjoyed constitutional independence and, therefore, the judiciary could “not to interfere in matters of parliament.”
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Questioning the legality of the decision by the Lahore High Court Judge, the Governor urged the Supreme Judicial Council to clarify who else could administer the oath besides the President and the Governor. Moreover, the Governor claimed that the province was being held, hostage.
To clarify, after a protracted legal contest between the Governor and the legal team of Hamza Shahbaz, Lahore High Court, on 27th April, directed the speaker of the National Assembly to administer the oath of the newly elected chief minister on the following day at 11:30 a.m. The court nominated the speaker following the defiant attitude of the province’s Governor and the country’s President. The court order stated that despite its decision having legal binding effects, the directives were repeatedly ignored by the Governor, and hence someone had to be nominated in his stead.
It is pertinent to mention, the Governor, a day after Hamza Shahbaz was elected, refused to administer his oath on the grounds that the Punjab Assembly session which elected Hamza Shahbaz reflected no semblance of democratic values. Addressing a press conference, the Governor raised questions regarding the validity of the proceedings and the subsequent election of Hamza Shahbaz as the Chief Minister of Punjab. 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. 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 a “contraption of abuse of command of the Constitution and process of law.”