LHC accepts PTI’s petitions against Hamza Shehbaz’s election; orders re-counting

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Lahore: In a major boost to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s fight against Hamza Shehbaz’s election as the chief minister, the Lahore High Court (LHC) Thursday accepted PTI’s petitions.

A larger bench of five judges, headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and comprising Justice Shahid Jamil, Justice Shehram Sarwar, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, issued the verdict today with 4-1.

Following the hearing, the LHC issued a brief order directing a recount of the votes cast in the April 16 election after eliminating 25 votes cast by the defecting legislators.

However, in the light of Article 130(4) of the Consitution, if Hamza Shehbaz fails to secure 186 votes in the 371-member house, the elections will take place again unless another candidate has majority votes.

In order to be chosen chief minister in the second round of voting, a member just needs to receive the support of the majority of those who are “present and voting,” as stated in Article 130(4).

The court also protected the functions performed during this period and said that the functions performed and powers exercised by Hamza Shahbaz and his Cabinet shall be protected under the “de facto doctrine”.

The court noted clarified that Hamza Shehbaz will cease to be CM if he loses the majority after the exclusion of 25 dissenting PTI votes.

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Hamza Shehbaz was elected Chief Minister of Punjab on April 16, after securing 197 votes against PTI candidate Pervaiz Elahi. However, 25 of those who voted for Hamza were PTI lawmakers who voted against the party’s directives. Subsequently, the twenty-five members were de-seated by the ECP on May 20.

PTI’s response

Talking to the media, PTI leader Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said that per the verdict of the LHC, Hamza Shehbaz was no more the CM of Punjab. He also said that the election for the CM slot would take place again, and this time PTI would win.

Former federal minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that since Hamza was not the Chief Minister, Usman Bazdar has been reinstated as the caretaker Chief Minister. However, he still believes new elections are the only solution.

Read: PTI to move LHC against Hamza election as Punjab CM: Fawad


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