LHC summons Punjab Assembly secretary in CM election

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Mazari’s petition seeking re-entry into assembly rejected

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, while hearing separate petitions filed by PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz and Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari on Friday, has summoned the relevant record pertaining to the election of the Punjab chief minister along with the secretary of the Punjab Assembly.

Justice Bhatti, however, turned down the request of Mazari’s counsel seeking entry into the Punjab Assembly. “Let the record be produced before the court to pass an appropriate order in this regard,” said the LHC CJ.

Hamza and Mazari had filed two separate petitions in the high court in connection with the election for the Punjab chief minister slot.

Hamza had urged the court to declare authorities concerned to convene the session of the assembly at the earliest for voting on the chief minister seat while Mazari had sought cancellation of the PA speaker’s ruling that had stripped him of his acting speaker’s powers. At the outset of the proceedings, Mazari’s counsel informed the bench that Speaker Pervaiz Elahi illegally withdrew the powers and had been causing obstructions in the chief minister’s election.

Justice Bhatti asked why couldn’t the speaker withdraw power if he could delegate them? The counsel for Mazari responded that Speaker Elahi was a nominee for the chief minister slot; therefore, he could not perform duties as a speaker.

“The deputy speaker is carrying out the duties of the speaker under Clause (3) of Article 53 read with Article 127 of the constitution,” the counsel informed. “As per Clause (3) of Article 53, when the office of Speaker is vacant, or the speaker is absent or is unable to perform his functions due to any cause, the deputy speaker shall act as speaker’,” he apprised the court.

Hamza Shehbaz’s counsel said the province was without a chief executive and the cabinet members were following their vested interests. “The PML-N lawmakers are not being allowed to enter the assembly,” he said, adding that Elahi had resorted to delaying tactics to sabotage the election.

He argued that April 3 was fixed for voting but the house was adjourned till April 6. “On April 5, an order was issued that the election will be held on April 16,” he said, adding that Deputy Speaker Mazari defied the order as per the constitutional responsibility and said the house will meet on April 6 as scheduled.

 

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