The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday overruled the objection of the Registrar’s Office on the maintainability of a petition moved by Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz and Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari seeking the election of the Punjab chief minister, that was fixed for hearing today.
LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, who was hearing the case, summoned the advocate general and Punjab Assembly secretary along with the record on the next hearing.
Earlier, the counsel for Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari argued over maintainability of the petition and submitted that he was deputy speaker while Chaudhary Pervez Elahi was the candidate for the Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Office.
Mazari’s counsel said that Pervez Elahi, while being a candidate for the Punjab CM, could not hold the session, and in his absence, Mazari being the deputy speaker, had the legal right to hold the session.
He said that he was barred from holding the house and thus the election for the Punjab CM was delayed. The counsel asked the court to overrule the objection of the registrar’s office and fix the petition for hearing today.
After hearing the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel, the LHC overruled the registrar’s office’s objection and fixed the petition for hearing today and adjourned the hearing till April 11.
The registrar’s office had earlier objected to the petition holding that it was not maintainable. The registrar’s office held that the speaker’s ruling could not be challenged before the court.
Hamza Shehbaz through his counsel Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar filed the petition and submitted that the Punjab CM’s office was lying vacant for more than a week since ex-governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar – who was removed from his position last week – accepted Usman Buzdar’s resignation on April 1.
The PML-N made Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi, Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, and Inspector-General of Police Punjab Rao Sardar Ali Khan as respondents.
Hamza Shehbaz submitted that the CM’s post remained vacant despite the passage of several days and urged the need to immediately elect someone to the position.
He said, “Assembly secretary and administrative officers are obeying the illegal orders of Parvez Elahi and the Punjab Assembly’s session is being delayed without any reason.”
Hamza said that the election for the CM could not be delayed under Article 130 of the constitution, pointing out that the parties named in the case were not performing their duties under the law.
He added, “Therefore, the court should issue an order at the earliest and make the election possible.”
The speaker, a candidate for the CM’s post, had on April 6 restrained members of the Punjab Assembly and media personnel from entering the premises after the deputy speaker had summoned a session for the election of the CM.
The security of the provincial legislature had also put up barbed wires at the main gate of the assembly.
The PML-Q leaders had submitted a no-trust-motion against Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari while the opposition leaders later submitted no-trust-motion against speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi.
On Wednesday night, the opposition held a symbolic Punjab Assembly session and elected Hamza Shehbaz, the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, as the chief minister.
Members from the PML-N, PPP, and PTI’s Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan groups attended the session, with PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also present.