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Wednesday, April 17, 2024  
09 Shawwal 1445  

Punjab redux: Hamza sworn in as CM again

PML-N leader retained Punjab CM post by securing majority of votes in runoff election
CM Punjab Hamza Shahbaz taking oath ceremony | 23 July 2022 | Aaj News

LAHORE: PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz was sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab on Saturday (today), a day after he retained the coveted slot by securing a majority of votes in the runoff election.

People in the chamber shouted slogans in favour of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari after Hamza took the oath. Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman administered the oath of office to Hamza, who is the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Zardari, who had multiple meetings with PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat before and on the election day, managed to win the Q-league support for Hamza just moments before the delayed assembly session. The opposition’s coalition included 10 votes of PML-Q MPAs in the Punjab Assembly that managed to tilt the balance of power in favour of PM Shehbaz’s son.

Read more: If Pakistan’s Supreme Court rules 3-2, is that an opinion or a verdict?

Shujaat had refused to support Pervaiz in the election for the Punjab chief minister slot.

Pervaiz Elahi secured 186 votes, but Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari refused to count the 10 votes cast by the Pakistan Muslim League-Q MPAs, citing Article 63 (1) (A) of the Constitution after PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat directed his party leaders to cast their votes in favour of Hamza.

“A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) if he is of unsound mind and has been so declared by a competent court,” said Article 63 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

Read more: How many MPAs need to be bought to make a Punjab CM?

The PML-N was all smiles after the results and the opposition was in shock at how the development changed all their hopes. The tally was in the Opposition’s favour till the evening, however, the political developments dashed their hopes of making a new government in the country’s most powerful province.

 PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz celebrates after retaining the Punjab chief minister post by securing a majority of votes in the election on Friday. Photo via Twitter/@pmln_org
PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz celebrates after retaining the Punjab chief minister post by securing a majority of votes in the election on Friday. Photo via Twitter/@pmln_org

PTI Chairperson Imran Khan, while reacting to the shocking development, urged the people to hold “peaceful protests” against the victory of Hamza.

“It is written in Article 63A [disqualification on grounds of defection] of the Constitution that the parliamentary leader of the party decides where to vote, the letter I wrote was rejected, then the parliamentary leader wrote the letter,” he said while addressing the public in Lahore on Friday.

Is deputy speaker’s ruling according to law?

The Supreme Court ruling on Article 63A, in which it said that the vote of a parliamentarian who has defected from their party will not be counted on a motion, is not written anywhere in the Constitution, argued former attorney general for Pakistan, Irfan Qadir. The SC ruling came on May 17 on a petition asking the apex court to interpret Article 63 of the Constitution.

“If something is not written in the Constitution, the SC cannot write it in the Constitution and if it does it would be against the legislation,” he said told Aaj News. “So if we follow Constitution there was no need of today [Friday]’s proceedings.”

Rubaroo with Shaukat Paracha asked Qadir, who served as the AGP from April 12, 2012, to June 07, 2013, to shed some light on the deputy speaker’s ruling.

He was of the view that the only way to de-seat Hamza was through a vote of no-confidence. But, if it was considered that the ruling was “correct” then the deputy speaker’s action was according to the top court decision.

The matter was again going to the SC, he said, adding that it was a “good opportunity” for the SC to form a larger bench, having a full court (a court with all or the required number of judges present), to “rectify all the legal errors” in order to have right decision “once and for all” and end the confusion on Constitution.

Qadir added that the 20 MPAs, who defected from their party line, were rightly de-seated. “I said their votes should be counted.”

He wondered how a party, which has so much indifference among them, led by Pervaiz Elahi and Shujaat Hussain could run the province.

“Head and parliamentary party are not two different things,” he said to a query on the apparent difference in the decision given by two authorities

“Both should be read together and eventually the decision is taken by the parliamentary party head. If we send this to the ECP, we should see the SC has already given its decision. How can you take it separate from the parliamentary party.”

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