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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) on Tuesday challenged the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s verdict regarding the powers of the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker in the apex court.

The petition said the LHC’s decision was tantamount to interfering in the parliament’s affairs, as according to the 1973 Constitution there can be no interference in parliamentary work.

The petition further said the decision of the LHC regarding the powers of the deputy speaker was against the law. The interpretation of the law was done wrong, it added.

The PML-Q has also requested the top court to hear their petition at the earliest.

In the first week of April, the Punjab Assembly Secretariat took away Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari’s powers after what it termed a fake order issued with the signature of Mazari’s summoning the assembly session on April 6 at 7:30pm.

Later on, Mazari approached the LHC against the Assembly Secretariat. LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti set aside the order through which the powers of the deputy speaker were withdrawn and directed Mazari to proceed to elect the CM in terms of sub-article (3) of Article 130 of the Constitution.

Speaker Elahi and the PA Secretariat filed an intra-court appeal against the CJ’s order. However, a division bench of the High Court upheld the LHC chief justice’s order that allowed the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Mazari to chair the session for the election of the chief minister scheduled to be held on April 16.

The Supreme Court on July 2, 2022 had directed Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mazari, to issue a formal notification for convening the Punjab Provincial Assembly session for the second poll of the chief minister election within one week.

The second poll for the election of the chief minister, Punjab, in terms of the proviso to Article 130(4) of the Constitution shall be held on 22.07.2022 (Friday) at 4pm in the Punjab Assembly Building as suggested by Pervaiz Elahi, the speaker, Punjab Assembly and consented to by Hamza Shehbaz Sharif as well as Babar Awan, representing the PTI Opposition Leader in the Punjab Provincial Assembly, said the SC’s order.

The apex court had allowed “Hamza Shehbaz Sharif and his Cabinet to exercise the powers and function of their offices strictly in [a] fiduciary capacity to support the process of bye-election on 20 seats of the Punjab Assembly.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, on Tuesday, while talking to the media said it was meaningless to sit anywhere except in the assembly, maintaining that it was the speaker’s responsibility to make sure free and fair elections are conducted.

“The SC has declared that elections cannot be conducted anywhere else except the assembly,” he said while talking to the media. “We have to work towards maintaining the sanctity of the law and Constitution that the incumbent government is hell-bent on destroying.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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