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Speaker Punjab Assembly ignores governor’s order, adjourns session till Friday

  • Sibtain Khan says the governor's order against the Constitution and Rules of Procedure
Published December 20, 2022

Speaker Punjab Assembly (PA) Sibtain Khan on Tuesday disposed of governor Balighur Rehman’s order, asking Chief Minister Parvez Elahi to obtain a vote of confidence from the house, terming it “against the Constitution and Rules of Procedure”.

The speaker also adjourned the PA session till December 23 – the same day the ruling coalition intends to dissolve the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

On Saturday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced that his governments in the two provinces will dissolve their assemblies on Friday to pave the way for fresh elections.

In order to limit Parvez Elahi’s powers, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance filed a no-confidence motion against Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

Soon after, the Punjab governor also sent advice, instructing the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the PA on Wednesday (tomorrow).

Under the law, the chief minister cannot dissolve the assembly if a no-confidence motion has been moved against him, while the governor’s requirement for the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence from the house means he has to ensure that he manages to secure 186 votes on Wednesday.

However, in a ruling during today’s PA session, Sibtain Khan said that the assembly was “already in session” and “until and unless the current session is prorogued, the governor cannot summon any fresh session.”

Following his meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Zaman Park residence, the speaker said that the PDM was running away from the elections.

“There is no confusion that we (PTI) and Parvez Elahi will work together,” he said, adding that if 13 parties can work together under the umbrella of PDM then why not two parties?

The order said that as per a Lahore High Court verdict, the matter of confidence in the chief minister could only be determined in a session that was “especially summoned for this purpose”.

It stated that the governor could not summon this special session while the current session was ongoing.

The ruling pointed out that the governor was empowered by Article 109 of the Constitution to summon or prorogue an assembly session, however, the 41st session of the assembly was never prorogued. “That being the case, the governor is not empowered to summon the session requiring the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence,” it added.

Therefore, the PA speaker ruled that “the order of governor requiring the chief minister to take a vote of confidence, being not in accordance with the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution and Rules of Procedure, may not be processed any further; hence, disposed of accordingly”.

Meanwhile, Chief Whip of PML-N Tahir Khalil Sindhu said the opposition alliance’s MPAs would reach the PA at 4 pm tomorrow to attend the session summoned by the governor.

He insisted that the meeting called by the governor is in accordance with the Constitution and law.


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