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ISLAMABAD: PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the “unlawful” transfer of Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali Khan.

LHC Chief Justice Amir Bhatti has taken up the petition and will hear it on April 11.

On Friday, the federal government decided to transfer the chief secretary and IGP after they allegedly refused to ‘sort out’ the PTI dissidents to stop them from voting for the opposition candidate in the Punjab Assembly.

The provincial assembly has to elect the new leader of the house after Usman Buzdar resigned last month. PML-Q’s Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and PML-N’s Hamza, who has secured the support of PTI’s dissident lawmakers — the Jahangir Khan Tarin and Aleem Khan groups — are expected to go head to head in the race to become the next chief minister.

In his petition, Hamza named the Government of Punjab, chief secretary, and the IGP as respondents.

It stated that Buzdar’s resignation was accepted on April 1 and, since then, the powers he assumed are that of the caretaker chief minister.

“The postings and transfers of the officers such as Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Police of the province can only be made in consultation with the provincial government.

“It is also an admitted position that the provincial cabinet does not exist, therefore, essentially no provincial government exists. Hence such appointments/postings/transfers are without lawful authority,” Hamza argued.

He also said that as the process of Punjab chief minister’s elections had begun, the matter of transfers and postings had to be halted since such moves had all the trappings of “unfair, partial and arbitrary interference in the election process”.

The honourable courts too, the PML-N leader pointed out, had deprecated and set aside transfers and postings during the election process. “The impugned transfers at such level, during the pending process of the election of the Chief Minister, and in particular, subsequent to the issuance of notices by this court, clearly exhibits unholy designs and audacious conduct of the respondents.”

Consequently, the petitioner requested that the transfer of the chief secretary and IG should be stayed and the respondents should be restrained from taking illegal action during the process of elections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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