LAHORE (A1TV NEWS)A larger bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday suspended Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman s notification to de-notify Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
At the outset of hearing Parvez Elahi’s plea against Governor Balighur Rehman’s order of his denotification as the chief minister, asked the PTI to submit an undertaking that it would defer the assembly dissolution till the CM obtained a vote of confidence.
Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, who heads the five-member bench, inquired whether the PTI would dissolve the assembly if the court annulled governor’s notification removing CM Elahi from the office. “Manzoor Wattoo’s case is a precedent,” he added.
While seeking time from the court to submit undertaking, the lawyer representing the CM argued that if the court reinstated Elahi as the CM, it must order the PTI to halt assembly dissolution.
The justice remarked that how the court could issue such an order adding the court should consider not giving Mr Elahi the relief to function as the acting CM.
The court allotted an hour deadline for submission of the undertaking.
Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) formed a larger bench to hear Parvez Elahi s plea against his denotification as Punjab chief minister by the Punjab governor.
After recusal by Justice Farooq Haider, Justice Asim Hafeez has been included in the larger bench. Justice Abid Aziz will head the bench that wil comprise Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, Justice Chauhdry Muhammad Iqbal and Justice Muzammil Akhtar Shabbir. The bench will begin hearing shortly.
Earlier in the case, the LHC bench was dissolved after Justice Haider recused himself from hearing a petition filed by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi against an order of Governor Balighur Rehman to denotify him as the Punjab chief minister. The development came hours after Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti formed the bench to hear the petition. Justice Haider said he was unable to become a member of the bench hearing the case due to “personal reason”. Justice Sheikh sent a request to the chief justice to form a new bench to hear the petition against the governor’s order.
Mr Elahi, in his petition, argued that the governor had not written any letter to the chief minister, asking him to obtain a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly. It added that the governor was not authorised to summon a session when a current session was under way. A no-confidence motion was already submitted against the chief minister in the Punjab Assembly, it said, adding that Governor Rehman had neglected the Constitution and just followed advice of his lawyers.
The governor had no authority to denotify the chief minister through an unconstitutional order, Mr Elahi argued while pleading the high court to declare the order null and void.
Governor Rehman denotified Chief Minister Parvez Elahi on late Thursday night, stating that it was believed that the chief minister did not have the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly. The notification further stated that the Punjab cabinet had been dissolved. Parvez Elahi would continue to hold office until the election of the new leader of the House, it said.
“Consequent to the facts that Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister Punjab refrained from obtaining vote of confidence at 1600 hrs yesterday, in line with an Order under Article 130(7) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan issued under my hand on 19t December 2022, in line with Rule 22(7) of the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, 1997, and that he still has not done so even after the lapse of another twenty four hours, I am satisfied that he does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly, and therefore ceases to hold his office with immediate effect,” reads the notification.
Reacting to the Balighur Rehman’s tweet, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said the Punjab governor s notification had no legal status. He said Parvez Elahi and the provincial cabinet would continue to perform their duties. The PTI leader said a reference would be sent to the president against the governor and the action to remove him from office had been initiated.