LHC reinstates Pervaiz as CM Punjab, suspends governor’s order

LAHORE (NNI): Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday reinstated Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab Chief Minister and suspended the order of the de-notification of the governor.
A five-member larger bench of the LHC took the decision after the written undertaking from Ch Pervaiz Elahi in the court about not dissolving the assembly. The LHC larger bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh heard the plea against the removal of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as the Chief Minister of Punjab by the governor.
Earlier, Barrister Ali Zafar, a lawyer for Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, argued before the court that Pervaiz Elahi became the chief minister as the result of an election. “He got 186 out of 371 votes,” he added.
“Ten votes of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) MPAs were thrown out by the Punjab Assembly speaker on the basis of a letter from party leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, but the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Pervaiz Elahi,” he stated.
“Under the Constitution, the chief minister can be removed through two ways. The first is a motion of no confidence. The second is that the governor can ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence, under sub-section 7 of Article 130 of the Constitution, if he thinks that the chief minister has lost the majority,” he added.
“The governor must have solid reasons for asking for a vote of confidence. It cannot happen that the governor suddenly asks the chief minister one day to take a vote of confidence in two hours. The decision of Manzoor Wattoo case is important here,” he pointed out.
“Only the speaker has the authority to call a meeting of the House. He has to ensure the availability of all members of the House. He can also call an urgent meeting after the notice, or he can fix a date for the meeting,” he added. “It is nowhere in the law that the governor can de-notify the chief minister,” Barrister Ali Zafar maintained.
“But he can ask the chief minister to take the vote of confidence,” the court remarked. “But there is a procedure for that,” Barrister Ali Zafar replied.
Earlier, the chief justice of Lahore High Court has formed a new larger bench to hear the ousted Punjab chief minister’s petition challenging the governor’s order of denotifying him as chief executive of the province after a judge of the earlier formed bench recused himself from hearing the case. The chief justice has included Justice Asim Hafiz in the bench in place of Justice Farooq Haider when the latter expressed his inability to become part of the bench citing personal reasons.
A new five-judge bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and comprising Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, Justice Tariq Saleem, Justice Muzammil Shabbir and Asim Hafiz has been formed by the chief justice to hear the petition.
Earlier in the day, Ch Pervaiz Elahi moved the Lahore High Court challenging the governor’s order to denotify him. A 9-page petition on behalf of Pervaiz Elahi was filed in the LHC on Friday by former chief minister’s close aide Amir Saeed Raan, praying the court to declare Punjab governor’s notification as null and void.
The petition made Governor Balighur Rehman and Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan respondent through principal secretary.
It has been stated that the governor did not write the letter to chief minister asking him to seek vote of confidence. The petition further says that the letter was written to the speaker, not to the chief minister.
The petition states that the governor could not summon a new session when the assembly is already in session. The governor is not authorized to unconstitutionally denotify the chief minister, the plea adds.
The petition requested the court to void the Punjab governor’s notification. “It is most respectfully prayed that the operation of impugned orders may kindly be suspended and petitioner be allowed to continue his position as Chief Minister Punjab along with his cabinet till the final decision of the titled writ petition”, the petition says. The petitioner has also requested the court to fix the petition for hearing today.
On this, the registrar office sent the file to the LHC chief justice.
The Punjab chief secretary on Thursday issued notification regarding dissolving the Punjab cabinet.
Former federal minister and PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi made fun of the PML-N and its PDM allies’ blunder by saying that last night they did a ‘wonderful’ thing. The Punjab governor should have asked the chief minister to take vote of confidence.
The Punjab Assembly speaker was only responsible to conduct the vote. But in their confusion, the PML-N and PDM acted foolishly. Now they would again assemble at Faletti’s Hotel to elect their nominee.
On the other hand, SAPM on Legal Affairs Attaullah Tarar advised Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to take vote of confidence instead of going to the court.
In his tweet, Tarar said: “Instead of moving to the court, Pervaiz Elahi should still take a vote of confidence. They have no other option but to take a vote of confidence. Even the court cannot cancel the vote of confidence. Legally, it has to be done in any case.”