President Arif Alvi on Monday turned down Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice to remove Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema from office.
"The president further highlighted that he was committed to stand by the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan in these difficult times and strongly rejected the advice of the prime minister to remove the Punjab governor," said the press release from the President's Secretariat.
"The incumbent governor should continue to stay to encourage and promote a healthy and clean democratic system where members are not coerced or bought to bring about an illegitimate change and Article 63A of the Constitution specifically discouraged such activities," stated a tweet from the office of the president of Pakistan.
He said it was his duty as head of the state to represent the unity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in terms of Article 41 of the Constitution.
Highlighting the Constitutional role of the governor, the president said Cheema had also sent a report earlier regarding the unfortunate events in the Punjab Assembly, questions regarding the validity of the resignation of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar, and shifting of loyalties.
Rejecting the advice of the prime minister, President Alvi stated that he was convinced that the removal of the governor would be unfair and against the norms of justice.
The premier forwarded a second summary for Cheema’s removal to President Alvi on May 1.
As per the law, 10 days after the second summary is sent the Punjab governor would automatically be dismissed, following which the premier would send advice to the president for the appointment of a new governor.
As the controversy around Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz’s election and oath-taking lingered on, the government tried to remove Cheema from office. The governor, however, said that the prime minister did not have the power to remove him, rather it was the president’s prerogative to appoint and dismiss governors.