• Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Govt seeks Supreme Court’s intervention after Elahi reinstated as Punjab CM


Federal ministers Khwaja Saad Rafique (left) and Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference in Lahore on December 24, 2022. — YouTube/GeoNews
Federal ministers Khwaja Saad Rafique (left) and Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference in Lahore on December 24, 2022. — YouTube/GeoNews

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the Lahore High Court’s reinstatement of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as the Punjab chief minister and also urged the LHC to review its decision.

Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman de-notified the Elahi as the provincial chief executive as he did not take a vote of confidence despite the passage of several hours. However, the LHC restored the provincial cabinet and Elahi as the chief minister after he assured the court that he would not dissolve the Punjab Assembly once regains control of the office.

“Supreme Court should save Punjab from economic instability by taking a suo motu action,” Sanaullah said during a media talk in Lahore.

He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his group want instability in the country.

Sanaullah added that the LHC provided ultimate relief to Elahi. He added that he has heard PTI is offering Rs20 million to their estranged MPAs.

He said that Elahi, who is a Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and an ally of Imran, doesn’t have the numbers to seek a vote of confidence.

Sanaullah said the governor has the Constitutional right to ask the CM to attain a vote of confidence if he plans to dissolve the provincial assembly to satisfy someone’s ego. 

They should seek a vote of confidence first and then dissolve the Punjab assembly, he added.

Moving on to PTI’s demand for snap polls, Sanaullah said that the ruling coalition is not avoiding the elections but the polls should take place in due time and the assemblies should complete their term.

He, however, said that the election will be held in the province in which the assembly is dissolved.

The interior minister said that the government has started preparations for the elections in Punjab and is finalising the candidates on the basis of constituencies.

“We are fully ready for the elections,” he said.

Sanaullah further stated that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PMD) took decisions favouring the country. He said they sacrificed their political capital to save the country from default; however, Imran tries to push the country into turmoil daily.

“We saved the country from defaulting,” he said.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, meanwhile, voiced his displeasure over the LHC’s decision to restore Elahi as the CM, saying the decision did not fulfil legal parameters. He added that their legal team is considering options to challenge the decision in the apex court.

He said that Imran wants to repeat the same mistakes that other parties made in the past and then renounced.

“Imran wants the establishment to indulge in politics and help him attain power once again,” he said.

Elahi reinstated as Punjab CM

LHC on Friday restored the provincial cabinet and Elahi as the chief minister after he assured the court that he would not dissolve the Punjab Assembly once regains control of the office.

The LHC wanted an undertaking from Elahi that he would not dissolve the assembly as if he would resort to the move, it could deepen the ongoing political turmoil in the province.

Punjab Governor Rehman de-notified the PML-Q leader as the chief minister as he did not take a vote of confidence despite the passage of several hours.

Following the assurance of not dissolving from the PML-Q leader, the court reinstated him as the chief minister. The LHC also issued notices to all the parties in the case and summoned them on January 11.

The court suspended the governor’s order till the next hearing and also did not make it compulsory for the chief minister to take a vote of confidence on the Punjab governor’s orders.

However, it noted that the court’s order “will not preclude the petitioner from taking a vote of confidence on his own accord”.

Political drama

The political crisis in Punjab does not seem to be ceased soon as lawmakers sitting on treasury and opposition benches appeared at loggerheads over who will get the CM’s Office and who will take it over next.

In his bid to oust the chief minister, the governor — a member of the PML-N — had ordered the CM to take a vote of confidence at 4pm on December 21.

But Punjab Assembly Speaker Muhammad Sibtain Khan Punjab — a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader — termed the order against the Constitution and adjourned an ongoing session till Friday — which resumed today.

In response, the governor disagreed with the speaker and rejected his reasonings for not summoning a session. He added that the ruling has “no bearing” on the order to hold a session for the confidence vote.

Following this, in a notification issued in the wee hours of Friday, the governor de-notified Elahi as the chief minister, citing his reluctance to take a vote of confidence.

Rehman said that since he believes that Elahi does not command the confidence of the Punjab Assembly, he was de-notifying him as the chief minister and also dissolving the provincial cabinet.

But the PTI and PML-Q alike rejected the notification and moved the Lahore High Court against it. 



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