LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz on Friday filed a constitutional petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) for a third time, requesting the court to appoint a person for administering the oath to him and declare the steps taken by Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema and President Arif Alvi to prevent him from doing the same as unconstitutional.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president was elected as Punjab’s new chief minister on April 16, after a chaotic session of the Punjab Assembly where legislators of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) scuffled with one another.
Shehbaz polled 197 votes — including from 24 PTI dissidents, two independents and the lone Rah-i-Haq Party lawmaker — while his opponent, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, failed to secure a single vote from the assembly.
PTI and PML-Q lawmakers had boycotted the voting process after the ruckus.
Now, despite the passage of almost two weeks, Shehbaz has yet to be sworn into office because the governor and President Arif Alvi have delayed the proceedings, observing the election was in contrast with “all democratic norms and constitutional provisions.”
The governor has sought to claim the election was “unconstitutional,” while the president has thus far resisted calls to nominate the Senate chairman to administer the oath.
In his petition, wherein he nominated both the federal and Punjab governments as respondents, Shehbaz said that despite the fact that the LHC had ordered the governor to take oath from him or appoint somebody else for the purpose, the latter was still to comply with the order.
Therefore, Shehbaz added in the petition, it was prayed to the court to not only appoint a person for taking oath from him but also fix a time and place for the oath-taking ceremony.
On Wednesday, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Amir Bhatti had ordered Governor Cheema to administer the oath by Thursday or appoint another person who could fulfil the duty.
The judge gave the ruling while hearing a petition filed by Shehbaz for the appointment of a person for the oath-taking.
In his ruling, Justice Bhatti had directed that if the governor did not want to perform the swearing-in then another person should be appointed for this task.
The judge asked the president to perform his role and order the completion of the constitutional requirement of swearing-in of the Chief Minister-elect.
The judge ordered to take steps to administer the oath to Shehbaz.