- President Alvi to administer oath to Elahi at 2am
In a major setback for the coalition-led government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside the ruling of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari on the recently-held CM election in the province and declared PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi the new chief minister, Aaj News reported.
The court, in its brief order, ordered Governor Punjab Muhammad Balighur Rehman to administer the oath to Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi at 11:30pm. The top court also ruled that if Governor Punjab was not available, President Dr Arif Alvi should administer the oath.
A notification was later issued from the Punjab government's cabinet wing declaring Elahi as Punjab's chief minister, while a press release from the President House stated Elahi's oath would be administered by President Alvi at 2am in Islamabad.
The order further noted that all the appointments made by Hamza were “illegal” and told the members of his cabinet to vacate their offices.
Moreover, all advisers and assistants appointed by Hamza were also ordered to be relieved of their duties.
Reacting to the development, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz termed the verdict a "judicial coup."
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry congratulated the people and said the ruling represented the "victory of democracy" under Imran Khan's leadership.
"In principle, Hamza should have resigned after the Punjab elections, but he fell into unprincipled politics," he said in a Twitter post.
"Today, the Supreme Court restored the constitution," he added.
The hearing of the case, pertaining to the interpretation of Article 63-2A of the constitution, continued for three days.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Muneeb Akhtar heard the case.
During the hearing, Dost Muhammad Mazari's lawyer Irfan Qadir informed the three-judge bench that he had been asked to refrain from court proceedings as Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced a boycott of the hearing. He further stated that he would file a review petition over the top court's rejection to form a full bench.
On the other hand, Pakistan Peoples Party Counsel Farooq Naek also refused to participate in the hearing.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected the coalition government’s request for a full court bench and adjourned the case till Tuesday.
During the hearing, Justice Bandial remarked that the head of a political party will "also have to listen to the parliamentary party’s opinion", as the hearing of the petition lodged by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi against Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari remained underway.
When the hearing resumed on Monday, the top court barred PDM leaders from entering the court premises and only allowed leaders of respondent parties inside the court - that too with the permission of the SC administration.
In eight hour-long hearing, the counsels of CM Hamza, Deputy Speaker Mazari, and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain all demanded full court be constituted as the interpretation of an important constitutional matter was involved.
After the apex court turned down the request, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman along with the leadership of allies addressed a press conference to declare that the ruling coalition would boycott the court proceedings.
The PDM chief termed the decision of the court on the full bench biased and unfair, while adding that only a full court could ensure a fair verdict.
Maulana said that the PDM and other ruling parties humbly requested the SC to constitute a full-court bench on the subject but the Chief Justice-led bench rejected the submission; therefore, they will not appear before the bench.
Maulana said, “Our lawyers in accordance with the constitution and well-recognised global practices submitted before the court for the constitution of the full court which they turned down,” so the ruling alliance is left with no option but to boycott the hearing.
In response, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf called upon the people of Pakistan to completely boycott the 11-party coalition in the next general elections.
In an initial hearing on Saturday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan summoned Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari with records of the session held to elect the chief minister after a petition filed by PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi. However, Mazari failed to show up and instead, his lawyer Irfan Qadir attended the hearing.
The Supreme Court then adjourned the hearing to Monday and appointed Hamza Shehbaz Trustee CM till then. The hearing of the petition took place in Lahore on Saturday.
In Punjab CM elections on Friday, PML-Q’s PTI-backed candidate Pervez Elahi lost to PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz despite securing a higher amount of votes. Hamza received 179 votes whereas Elahi garnered 186 votes, however, Mazari nullified 10 votes of Elahi’s own party after reading a letter from PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, which turned the tables in Hamza’s favour.
Resultantly, Elahi's filed a petition in wee hours of Saturday after a ruling by the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker led to his defeat in Punjab CM election and Hamza Shehbaz's re-appointment as the province's chief executive. Subsequently, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman administered the oath on Saturday to Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister.
While Hamza Shehbaz took oath as CM Punjab, Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial stated that the oath does not matter in front of the court and SC would see the matters in the light of the constitution.