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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as duly-elected Chief Minister of the Punjab in consequence of the runoff election held on 22nd July 2022.

The Punjab chief secretary was ordered to immediately and forthwith issue the notification declaring Pervaiz Elahi as the duly-elected chief minister of Punjab. The governor Punjab was directed to administer the oath of the CM to Pervaiz Elahi.

The short order said in case, the governor Punjab is unable or unwilling to administer such oath, the President of Pakistan may forthwith administer the oath of office to Pervaiz Elahi as chief minister, Punjab.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar, after hearing the arguments of the counsels of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, announced the short order at 9:00pm.

The counsels of the Deputy Speaker, Dost Muhammad Mazari and Hamza Shehbaz, informed the bench that their clients have instructed them not to participate in the proceedings. The Pakistan Democratic Movement also announced to boycott the proceedings.

However, Mazari and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawyers submitted that they intended to file a review against the SC’s short order declining their pleas to constitute a full court to hear the instant matter.

They had objected to hearing of Elahi’s petition by a three-judge bench and had sought the referral thereof to the Full Court.

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They had also requested the bench to club Elahi’s petition with the appeals of the PTI dissenters against the ECP’s verdict and the review petition of the Supreme Court Bar Association against the short order on Article 63A.

The main question was whether the understanding and implementation of the short judgment of this Court dated 17.05.2022 passed in Presidential Reference No 1 of 2022 read with Article 63A(1)(b) of 1973 Constitution was correct.

The bench found the understanding and implementation of the said short judgment as well as the provisions of Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution by the deputy speaker, Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Lahore was patently incorrect and erroneous and cannot be sustained.

The governance of the Punjab province in accordance with the Constitution has been subverted, whereby, the fundamental rights of the people have been seriously infringed. As a result, the ruling dated 22.07.2022 issued by Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly is set aside and declared to be void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

In consequence of that having admittedly secured 186 votes as against 179 votes obtained by Hamza Shehbaz Sharif in the runoff election of Chief Minister, Punjab held on 22.07.2022 pursuant to the consent order of this Court dated 01.07.2022 passed in Civil Petition No 2242 of 2022, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is declared as the duly elected chief minister, Punjab.

The court declared that Hamza Shehbaz not being the duly elected chief minister, therefore, the oath of office administered to him was and is without lawful authority and of no legal effect. Likewise, all acts, deeds and things attendant and consequent upon such oath including but not limited to the notification of Hamza and the formation and swearing in of the Cabinet on his advice is also declared to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

All advisors, special advisors and special assistants etc (if any) by whatever name called appointed by, on behalf or under orders/advice of Hamza shall immediately and forthwith cease to hold office, their appointment is declared illegal and without lawful authority, and the persons appointed as ministers on Hamza’s advice are relieved of their offices/posts with immediate effect.

All acts, deeds and things lawfully done or purported to be done by Hamza and or any Member of the Provincial Cabinet in accordance with the Constitution and the law under the colour of office are hereby saved and protected under the de facto doctrine subject to all just and legal exceptions and such review, modification, reversal or withdrawal as may be deemed appropriate by the incoming Chief Minister, Punjab and any member of the Cabinet or other officer appointed by him in accordance with the law.

The SC office asked to immediately communicate/transmit a copy of this order to the governor Punjab, deputy speaker, Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Lahore as well as chief secretary, Punjab for implementation and compliance of the same.

A full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on 30.06.2022 directed that the Session of the Punjab Assembly be resumed on 01.07.2022 at 4:00 pm to hold poll in terms of Article 130 (4) of the Constitution.

The said election was the runoff in terms of the proviso to Article 130(4) for the post of chief minister, Punjab to be held between PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif and the PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi.

Elahi challenged the LHC’s order before the apex court, which on 01.07.2022 by a consent order declared that it was agreed by and between Pervaiz Elahi and Hamza as well as the coalition partner of the Elahi (PTI) that the runoff election would be held on 22.07.2022 after the bye-elections on the 20 general seats in the Punjab Assembly vacated by the PTI members whom the ECP had declared as defectors.

Both Elahi and Hamza agreed to the continued functioning of Hamza as the chief minister of the province in a fiduciary capacity until holding of the runoff election. It was further agreed that the election would be held under the charge and supervision of the Election Act and the Code of Conduct of the ECP. It was further directed that the election process would be completed in accordance with the schedule announced by the ECP which would issue notification of the final result accordingly.

At the runoff election held on 22.07.2022 the petitioner secured 186 votes while the respondent No 2 got 179 votes which is recorded in the impugned ruling of the deputy speaker dated 22.07.2022. However, the deputy speaker excluded 10 votes in favour of Elahi from count as a result of that Hamza won CM Punjab election.

The bench observed that the votes were excluded on the basis that 10 members of the PML(Q) had failed to follow the direction under Article 63A(1)(b) of the Constitution given by the party head to the members of the Parliamentary Party of PML(Q). As a result, the winning candidate who had received 186 votes lost the election by three votes. The deputy speaker’s ruling was challenged before the Supreme Court on 23.07.2022, which on 26-07-22 set aside the ruling and declared it void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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