PML-N to challenge reinstatement of Elahi in SC


Sanaullah seeks SC’s intervention in Punjab political crisis; Saad says LHC’s decision does not meet requirements of justice; Party MPAs meet PM


The Pakistan Muslim League-N on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court in its bid to challenge the Lahore High Court’s verdict reinstating Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. The development, according to sources, came after the party’s members of the Punjab assembly met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at his residence in Lahore.

Sources said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s Tariq Basheer Cheema was also present in the high-level meeting where the decision to challenge CM Elahi’s reinstatement was taken.

It was learnt through sources that PML-N’s counsels also prepared a draft of the petition to be submitted to the apex court against the LHC’s order.

Earlier in the day, the federal government urged the country’s top court to take notice of the ongoing turmoil in Punjab, stating that the LHC’s decision does not fit legal parameters.Federal min-isters Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah, and Tariq Bashir Cheema had earlier in the day requested the apex court to take suo motu notice of Punjab’s deteriorating political situation, including the chief minister’s reinstatement.

The meeting expressed reservations over the LHC order and decided to challenge it in the top court after completing a consultation with legal team, say sources.

PM Shehbaz Sharif has also directed the party leadership to challenge the decision in the apex court after consulting the matter with legal team, the sources said.

Meanwhile, interior minister, Rana Sanaullah, flanked by Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique and Federal Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, talking to media, rejected the decision of the Lahore High Court to restore Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab chief minister and his cabinet and also urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the deteriorating political situation in Punjab.

They defended the governor’s notification, arguing that he (governor) could ask the chief minister to obtain the vote of confidence when an elected assembly was being dissolved for someone’s “stubbornness or mean politics”.

“We want the assemblies to complete their constitutional term,” Sanaullah said as he vowed to foil Imran Khan’s plans. “The chief minister should go for the trust vote if he has the required numbers,” he asserted.

The PDM government saved Pakistan from bankruptcy but they [PTI] were attempting to distablise the country, he said. Sanaullah also dispelled an impression that the federal government was intentionally delaying the elections. “We are fully ready for the elections,” he claimed.

The government also demanded a suo motu notice from the Supreme Court, requesting that the incumbent provincial government should be limited to the powers of carrying out day-to-day affairs only.

“If the assemblies are being dissolved due to someone’s stubbornness and ego, it is the duty of the governor to at least ask for a vote of confidence,” said Sanaullah.

Sanaullah also said that the current Punjab government does not have enough numbers and will not be able to take the vote of confidence, adding that if the provincial government dissolves the assembly by taking a vote of confidence, then provincial assembly elections will be held.

The minister reiterated that the party is fully prepared for the elections but demanded that the chief minister take a vote of confidence before dissolving the assembly.

Sanaullah said the governor has the constitutional right to ask the CM to get a vote of confidence if he plans to dissolve the provincial assembly to satisfy someone’s ego.

He added that they would not let two provincial assemblies fall prey to [PTI Chairman] Imran Khan’s arrogance. “PDM is trying to ensure that all the assemblies complete their tenure,” he said.

The PML-N leader added that if the PTI and PML-Q had the numbers, they would not have run from the vote of confidence.

Rana said they sacrificed their political capital to save the country from default; however, Imran Khan tries to push the country into turmoil daily.

He added that they do not intend to escape elections; in fact, they are preparing their candidates for general polls. He added that he has heard PTI is offering Rs20 million to their estranged MPAs.

Saad Rafique stated that LHC’s decision to reinstate Elahi does not meet the requirements of justice, adding that there are ‘flaws’ in it. He further said that PML-N will most likely challenge the decision and that no institution can deviate from the Constitution. The minister added that the court has given 18 days during which there is “fear of horse-trading”.

Rafique also said this will have to take the vote of confidence, adding that if he skips the vote then it will mean that the incumbent Punjab government does not have the majority of the House.

“The present Punjab government is not an elected government but only based on a stay order,” he added. The interior minister said that assemblies are constitutional institutions and should be respected and not ‘turned into a joke’.

Rafique added that their legal team is considering options to challenge the decision in the apex court. He added that Imran wants to repeat the same mistakes that other parties made in the past and then renounced. “Imran wants the establishment to indulge in politics and help him attain power once again,” he said.

The minister added that the court granted complete relief in the form of interim relief, adding that it is never the case that final relief is granted in interim relief.

Requesting the apex court to review the decision and take suo motu notice, the minister said that it is likely that the LHC’s decision to restore Elahi will create legal, constitutional, and economic complications which will seriously affect the province.

“As there is an apprehension of horse-trading, the court should have allowed only day-to-day matters under Article 133 in interim relief,” added the interior minister.