Islamabad High court’s three-member larger bench comprising of Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamir Farooq, and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard a plea filed by former Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema against his removal from the post.
The issue of the removal of the previous government-appointed governor and the appointment of a new governor in Punjab has been a bone of contention between the incumbent federal government and the president of Pakistan.
The prime minister had sent a summary twice to remove the governor of Punjab right after assuming the PM office and advised the president to appoint a new governor. However, the president rejected the Prime ministers’ advice both times by replying that the governor can continue to work until his will under the constitution and there is no solid reason for the removal of the current governor.
Baligh-ur-Rehman was nominated as new Punjab Governor; but President never apppointed him? Pervaiz Elahi did not take oath as Governor? Right? No Governor in Punjab? https://t.co/ILVmjmiUOY
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) May 17, 2022
Later, the federal govern has de notified the governor Umar Sarfaraz Cheema through the cabinet and nominated Baligh-ur-Rehman as the new governor of Punjab. “In terms of Article 101 and proviso to Article 48 (1) of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with serial No. 2D of schedule V-B to the Rules of Business, 1973 and the Prime Minister’s advice (s) rendered on 17-04-2022 and 01-05-2022 for removal of Governor of Punjab, Mr. Omer Sarfaraz Cheema ceases to hold the office of the Governor Punjab, with immediate effect,” the notification said issued by the cabinet division.
To contest his de-notification, Cheema moved to Islamabad high court seeking to declare his removal null and void as he enjoys the president’s will to remain in the governor’s office.
During the court proceedings on Wednesday, the attorney general of Pakistan contended the that Constitution cannot say that the president removes the governor the very next date after his appointment, adding that the powers and functions of the president’s office were the same.
The AGP argued that when the premier sends a recommendation for an appointment to the president he can either approve or return it. However, the president has no other authority other than approving the advice when it is sent to him for the second time, the AGP further said.
The court asked the AGP to assist it on the point that how the will of the president was different from his discretionary powers and sought the amendments made in the Constitution since 1973 in the form of a chart on the issue.
Petitioner’s counsel Dr Babar Awan prayed the court to adjourn the case for the day, saying he had to go to the Supreme Court. He said he would give counter-arguments the next day.
The court adjourned the case till Thursday (today).