- PTI has been fighting against Hamza’s election from the start
The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered recounting of votes of election of Punjab chief minister held on April 16, Aaj News reported.
The court also directed for exclusion of votes of 25 dissident lawmakers during re-counting.
On April 16, Hamza was elected as the Punjab CM by receiving a total of 197 votes, including votes from 25 dissident Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPAs. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) later de-seated the 25 Punjab Assembly MPAs of the PTI, stating that they had defected from the party by voting for Hamza.
“The decision by August Supreme Court of not counting votes of defecting members of a political party is squarely applicable to the election of Chief Minister held on 14th April 2022,” said the judgement by the LHC, which gave a 4:1 decision on the matter.
A five-member bench of the LHC, which comprised Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh heard appeals of the PTI, PML-Q and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi against the decisions regarding the election and oath-taking of Hamza as Punjab CM.
The LHC has said votes in the election should be recounted, excluding the votes of the defecting lawmakers. If the required majority for Hamza to become CM — which is 186 votes in the 371-member strong house — is not met, elections will be held again under Article 130(4), unless another candidate has majority votes. PML-N appears confident Hamza can win if another round of elections take place.
The court said the detailed verdict of the case will be issued later.
Speaking to the press conference, PTI’s Ali Zafar said Hamza is no longer CM and a repolling will take place.
During the previous hearing, the bench hinted at holding a fresh election for Chief Minister Punjab. Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan had observed that fresh polling would be conducted by the deputy speaker who held the previous poll.
PTI has been fighting against Hamza’s election from the start after The Punjab Assembly session for the CM election began after a delay of more than five hours and saw Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari attacked, while PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was injured.
PTI had filed a petition stated that the session held for conducting the election witnessed “immense chaos and most unfortunate events”.
Former Governor Punjab Omar Sarfraz Cheema had refused to administer oath to Hamza until it was clear that the election was conducted as per the Constitution and the directives of the LHC. Cheema was later removed from the post.