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LAHORE: Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema has claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif does not have the authority to dismiss him, and only the president could do so. The governor’s remarks came amid speculations that he was being removed from the post by the federal government. “The prime minister does not have this kind of authority (to remove the governor),” declared Cheema while addressing a press conference here on Sunday.

He said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should send a summary to the president because he was holding this office with the pleasure of the President of Pakistan. “Until the president notifies to remove me, I am holding this office,” he clarified.

Following Cheema’s presser, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the federal government was sending a summary to the president for the removal of Punjab governor.

On the other hand, PTI vice president and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry seconded the governor’s stance on his potential sacking, saying that President Dr Arif Alvi had denied removing the governor. “The power to remove the governor belongs to the president. No such summary has reached his office. Therefore, Omar Cheema will continue to serve as the Punjab governor,” Fawad tweeted.

Addressing the presser, the governor condemned the Saturday’s chaotic events in the Punjab Assembly that saw PML-N and PML-Q MPAs come to blows while PTI MPAs threw “lotas” at the opposition. PA Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari and PML-Q chief Pervez Elahi were attacked, as well.

Immediate elections only solution to turmoil: governor

The governor held responsible the newly-elected Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz for the ruckus, saying that if Hamza Shehbaz really had so many supporting votes then there was no need to make the election controversial like this.

He said the election had been rendered “controversial” due to Saturday’s events, adding that he had summoned a report from the PA secretary. He also lashed out at Mazari saying he had proved to be a “lota” and did not act in a non-partisan manner while conducting the assembly session.

The governor downplayed the attack on Mazari, saying that the deputy speaker occupied his office due to the votes of PTI MPAs and “he stabbed us in the back at the last moment so it was their (attackers’) natural reaction”.

When asked about his stance of administering oath to CM Hamza Shehbaz, he doubted the authenticity of the chief minister’s election and said he could not give a constitutional endorsement to any unconstitutional action while occupying a constitutional office.

“So if someone calls upon me for serving the oath (of Hamza as the chief minister) then I will only start those proceedings once I am satisfied that the election was conducted in accordance with the constitutional requirements and the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order,” he said, adding the oath taking ceremony was, therefore, “adjourned” for now.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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