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Punjab CM’s election: LHC directs president, governor be made parties to hear their stance

LHC five-member larger bench decides to hear appeals against Hamza's election and oath on daily basis

The Lahore High Court on Tuesday decided to hear the president and the former governor on appeals challenging election of Hamza Shahbaz and his oath for the slot of Punjab chief minister.

A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan was hearing the case. Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh were the other members of the bench.

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The bench observed that hearing the stance of the president and the governor was important and directed that they be made parties in the case.

A single bench led by Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had advised the president and the governor to play a role to end the constitutional crisis in the province by administering oath to Hamza Shahbaz as Punjab chief minister or appoint any appropriate person for his oath. He gave two decisions on two separate petitions while the president and the governor had not been parties in the petitions.

Hamza Shehbaz, who was elected as Punjab CM on April 16, moved another petition and prayed for implementation of the court orders regarding administration of his oath. A single bench comprising Justice Jawad Hassan allowed his petition and directed NA Speaker to administer oath to Hamza Shahbaz for the office of Punjab chief minister.

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The PTI’s counsels argued that they had clear stance that in all three petitions filed by Hamza Shahbaz, the president and the then governor were not made parties.

They argued that two petitions were filed and decisions were passed on them but Hamza Shahbaz filed the third petition and it could not be entertained.

“It is not written anywhere in the law that NA Speaker can take oath from the Punjab chief minister,” said Advocate Azhar.

The court has decided to hear the appeals of PTI  on daily basis from today.

On May 17, the larger bench directed the authorities concerned to submit copies of the letters written to the President and response of the president before the court.

Sibtain Khan and 17 other PTI leaders had filed an Intra-court appeal in the LHC against the verdict of its single bench directing NA speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to administer oath to Punjab CM-elect, who is now the chief minister.

The PTI leaders had deemed the decision beyond the facts and called it contradictory to the constitution.

LHC Justice Jawad Hassan in his ruling had directed the speaker to administer an oath to Hamza Shehbaz Sharif and had fixed the date and time for the oath ceremony to end the crisis in Punjab. The province had been functioning without a cabinet since the resignation of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar last month.

The appellants had said, “The high court’s single bench in the absence of any pleadings by any single party to be arrayed as respondents in the writ petition, on the very first day, reserved judgement.”

They had argued that such conduct was unprecedented and was a clear violation of the constitution and the proceedings had caused turmoil and created havoc. They had pointed out that a third petition was filed for the same cause which had already been decided in two separate petitions.

They had argued that the judicial proceedings of the single bench also contained “rude remarks against constitutional officers such as the governor of Punjab and the president of Pakistan in the reserved judgment”.

They had contended that the haste and the procedure showed absence of justice, pleading with the court that a larger bench not less than seven judges should hear this matter.

They had further pleaded with the court that the impugned order passed by the single bench had ignored the facts and it had also been contradictory to various articles of the constitution, and same be declared null and void.

“This judgment is against Articles 48, 87, 133, 187, 190, 204, 248 and 255 of the Constitution,” the PTI’s counsel had argued.

The PTI had also challenged two separate verdicts of a single bench comprising Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on two different petitions filed by Hamza Shehbaz.


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