LAHORE. Almost after a month of political uncertainty in the country's largest populated province, PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz on Saturday took the oath of the Punjab Chief Minister's office.
National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf administered the oath of office to Hamza as per the Lahore High Court order.
The ceremony commenced with the national anthem. This was followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Hamza then rose to take the oath of office. PML-N leaders -- including Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique -- were present at the ceremony.
Hamza Shehbaz, who became the province's 21st chief minister of the province, is the son of incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PM Shehbaz had thrice served as the chief executive of the country's largest province.
“The post of chief minister will be devoted to real service of the public. I will use the post for public welfare and I am clearly aware of the public’s issues,” Hamza said in his address.
Hamza Shehbaz profile
Hamza Shehbaz was born on September 6, 1974 in Lahore, according to the Punjab Assembly website. He graduated from the Government College, Lahore and obtained the degree of LLB from the London School of Economics.
The new CM, who is also a businessman, remained MNA for two consecutive terms during 2008-13 and 2013-18.
“In his relatively young political career, he has led and steered reforms process in strategic vital areas like sports and youth affairs; criminal justice system; commercialization and urban planning of mega cities; local bodies setup; environment and wildlife; preservation and conservation of heritage etc; and ensuring provisions of civic rights and facilities to the citizens,” it read.
Cheema rejects Buzdar resignation
Punjab crisis further unfolded on Saturday after Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema rejected caretaker chief minister Usman Buzdar's resignation moments before CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz’s oath-taking ceremony today.**
The Lahore High Court on Friday directed National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to take oath from the newly-elected Punjab Chief Minster Hamza Shehbaz on Saturday (today) at 11:30am. LHC judge Justice Jawad Hassan had announced the reserved verdict on Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz’s plea seeking the administration of oath to him.
Cheema rejected Buzdar’s resignation after raising constitutional objections and wrote a letter to Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi, who affirmed that he has received the letter.
“Usman Buzdar’s resignation does not meet the requirements of sub-section 8 of Article 130. Buzdar did not resign in the name of the governor,” read the letter, a copy of which is available with Aaj News. It added that the resignation was written in the name of the prime minister which was "constitutionally wrong".
On the other hand, the PTI has claimed that Buzdar was restored to his position as the chief minister. Sources said Buzdar and his team have reached the Punjab Assembly for a cabinet meeting. They added that administrative decisions were expected in the huddle.
According to sources, the Buzdar cabinet could give orders to dissolve the assemblies. Upon his arrival at the assembly, Buzdar in an informal conversation with reporters said he had received the letter from Governor Cheema. He added that the cabinet would take decisions after deliberations with its legal team.
Buzdar on March 29 submitted his resignation to former prime minister Imran Khan to pave the way for PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi to replace him.
In a statement, the freshly restored provincial cabinet expressed concerns over Hamza's election and maintained that it has created a "crisis situation" in Punjab.
According to the rules, Hamza Shehbaz is the chief executive of the province after winning the election of the chief minister in the assembly. Sources said there would be the constitutional value of the Buzdar cabinet’s decisions after the oath-taking ceremony.
Constitutional experts told Aaj News that the formation of the cabinet was unconstitutional.
National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf reached Lahore to administer the oath of office to CM-elect Hamza.
Amidst this, lawmakers are reaching the Governor's House for the Hamza swearing in ceremony. A heavy contingent of police and a water cannon vehicle have also been deployed. Many guests have queued for entrance.
So far Rangers personnel has not been called up as the governor in a letter has requested the president to send them.
Anti-riot police troops, in addition to the usual security deployment, have reached the Punjab Assembly to deal with any untoward situation.
Cheema's letter to Alvi
Cheema has also written a letter to President Arif Alvi, citing that "goons through police have besieged the Governor House". It alleged that permission was not taken for holding any ceremony at the Governor House.
He demanded of the president to deploy Rangers personnel at the august house.
PTI's Intra-court appeal
Moreover, as many as 17 leaders of PTI have also filed an intra-court appeal against the high court decision. Punjab and federal government have been made parties in the case.
"The president and governor were not heard in this case," it read and the PTI leaders demanded of the court to hear them in the case.
"Police was brought in for conducting the [CM] election," it read, adding that courts have no prerogative in constitutional matters. "The Lahore High Court's April 29 decision is not according to the Constitution. The larger single bench decision should be declared null and void."
‘Swearing in ceremony will be held at all cost’
PML-N leaders outside the Governor House told reporters that the oath-taking ceremony of the CM-elect would be held “at all cost”.
“Though I am not happy with the Punjab governor’s actions I am also happy as it will add to the charge sheet against him as we trying him under Article 6,” PML-N leader Ata Tarrar told reporters.
He was of the view that the CM-elect Hamza could only dissolve assemblies and the federal government could impose the governor rule in the province.
“We could have taken oath anywhere but we followed the Constitution we want a constitution order. I want to announce that Hamza will as per the Constitution and law will take oath from Raja Parvez Ashraf,” he added.