Hamza to remain ‘trustee’ Punjab CM till Monday: SC

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Next hearing to be held in Islamabad

Amraiz Khan
Lahore

The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Hamza Shehbaz to stay as a “trustee” Punjab chief minister until the hearing resumes on Monday, as it heard a plea filed by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi challenging Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari calling the chief minister’s re-election in Hamza’s favour a day earlier.

The decision was taken as a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhter, took up the petition at the SC’s Lahore registry.

The Supreme Court declared the ruling of Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly in violation of the court’s decision and revived the interim status of Hamza as Chief Minister Punjab.

It is worth mentioning here that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari on Friday during election of CM Punjab did not count the PML-Q’s 10 votes.

On which late on Friday night, all 186 lawmakers of the PTI and PML-Q including their CM candidate Pervaiz Elahi reached the Supreme Court Lahore Registry to submit the petition. Lahore Registry Deputy Registrar Ejaz Goraya and other staff also rushed to their offices at midnight and received the petition filed by PML-Q lawyer Amir Saeed Rawn. PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary’s last night addressing the MPAs urged the Supreme Court to open the gates of justice to settle the matter.

The court revived the interim status of Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz during the hearing of a plea filed by Ch Pervaiz Elahi at its Lahore registry challenging the re-election of Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister of the province.

During the marathon hearing on Saturday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that it seemed that Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari issued his ruling in violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.

The court ordered the deputy speaker to submit his written reply. With this, the court adjourned the hearing till Monday (July 25) adding that the next hearing would be held in Islamabad.

The court, on the occasion, ordered the deputy speaker to tell as to on what grounds he had given the ruling. The CJP also ordered the Punjab government to submit its detailed reply in the case. “Prima facie, Hamza Shehbaz’s election as Punjab chief minister is in jeopardy,” he added.

Irfan Qadir Advocate, on the occasion, said there had been different interpretations of the SC judgments. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the parliamentary leader’s role was definite and unambiguous. “While interpreting Article 63-A of the constitution, the apex court had laid down that the vote of the MPAs going against the parliamentary leader’s instructions would not be counted,” he said, and asked, “What is ambiguous in this? Addressing the counsel for the deputy speaker, the CJP asked him to present the case’s record if his client could not appear in court.

Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari did not turn up in the Supreme Court which earlier summoned him in connection with Elahi’s plea. The court also issued notices to CM Hamza and Punjab chief secretary.

Irfan Qadir Advocate appeared before the court on behalf of Deputy Speaker Mazari. When Qadir told the court that he would represent Mazari, the chief justice asked him whether he had got power of attorney from the deputy speaker. The lawyer answered in the affirmative. The Supreme Court resumed its hearing in courtroom No 1 after 4pm. The court which was due to resume the hearing at 2:30pm could not start it because the courtroom was jam-packed with people. Later, the court ordered video link arrangements in courtroom 3 where people could watch the court proceedings on the video screen. A number of PTI leaders were present at the court, including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Sibtain Khan, Usman Buzdar and Zain Qureshi.

On this, CJP Bandial cautioned the lawyer, remarking that it was a legal question that required understanding more than interpretation. The barrister said that the PA deputy speaker read out the apex court judgement while giving his ruling based on PML-Q President Shujaat Hussain’s letter. Mazari deducted 10 votes polled in favour of Ch Pervaiz Elahi, he added. Mr Zafar contended that the deputy ignored the role of parliamentary party, adding that according to the SC verdict on Article 63-A, the members would cast their votes on the instruction of parliamentary party. He continued that the parliamentary party issued a letter on July 21 stating that party members would vote for Ch Pervaiz Elahi. After hearing his arguments, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing till 2pm.

Pervaiz Elahi in his petition prayed to the court to strike down the deputy speaker’s ruling on vote count during CM election. He argued that through his illegal and unconstitutional ruling the deputy speaker did not count the PML-Q’s 10 votes. The ruling was also a violation of the Supreme Court order, he insisted. Pervaiz Elahi said the deputy speaker’s ruling was also a violation of Article 63-A.

 

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