LHC fines Hamza Shehbaz over failure to reply to pleas challenging CM election

Petition states Hamza election as CM was 'unlawful' and 'fraudulent'

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday fined Hamza Shehbaz and the Punjab government Rs100,000 each over their failure to submit their replies over petitions challenging the Pakistan Muslim Legue-Nawaz leader’s election as the province’s chief executive.

The court has given notices to Hamza, Punjab chief secretary, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari, Punjab governor’s principal secretary and Punjab Assembly’s secretary during the last hearing.

Hamza had been elected as the Punjab CM on April 16, during a provincial assembly session that was blemished by chaos and violence. He received a total of 197 votes including from 25 dissenting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Members of Provincial Assembly that were critical for his win.

The PML-N leader met with numerous delays in assuming charge as the then Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema’s refused to administer him oath.

PTI’s petition was filed by lawmakers Mohammad Sibtain Khan, Zainab Umair, Mian Mohammad Aslam Iqbal, Syed Abbas Ali Shah and Ahsan Saleem Baryar. It stated that the session during which the CM election was held saw “immense chaos and most unfortunate events”.

Deputy Speaker Mazari received “illegal” aid from the police and provincial officials for holding a “sham and fraudulent” election, the petition said. It observed that votes of 25 dissident PTI lawmakers were also considered towards the final tally for Hamza. It contended that Hamza was administered an oath due to “judicial overreach” as the then governor Cheema had declined to accept the election results.