LAHORE. The PTI’s governor in Punjab appealed to the army chief on Thursday to play a role in the prevailing provincial situation and accused the prime minister of leading the country towards a political crisis by making “unconstitutional” use of his powers.
Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema made such statements in separate letters to Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The development comes after the swearing in ceremony of CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz, the son of PM Shehbaz, on April 30 which brought an end to the month-long constitutional crisis in the country’s largest populated provinces.
The chief minister slot, which has been the bone of contention between the PTI and the erstwhile opposition in NA, went to Hamza during April 16 provincial assembly session which was marred by violence and delays.
Cheema also requested COAS Qamar to play a role in ensuring the implementation of the constitutional framework in the province. He also sought the army chief’s role in restoring the public’s trust in the federal and provincial governments.
The governor also sent copies of his letters to President Arif Alvi and PM Shehbaz to the COAS.
This comes amid consecutive calls from the armed forces not to drag it into the political discourse. “Do not drag the army into political matters,” Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar said during April 14 media briefing. He had also made similar statements when the country’s political landscape is experiencing a change.
However, the tone of Cheema’s letter to PM Shehbaz was different. “No power can stop me from halting the unconstitutional measure of your son [Hamza Shehbaz],” he said in the letter.
“It’s the country’s misfortune that you [Shehbaz] and your son [Hamza] despite being on bail are on the important posts,” it read.
He reiterated that former Punjab CM Usman Buzdar’s resignation was controversial, adding that the PML-N got the “ugly support” of de facto provincial assembly members. Cheema said the party has moved the Lahore High Court against CM’s controversial election.
“Hamza Shehbaz is the centre of all unconstitutional acts in the province and he is taking the advantage of being the son of the PM,” he said, “the assembly secretary had informed him about the violations of law pertaining to fraud election.”
The governor supported his argument with the Punjab advocate general, who had also declared the poll unconstitutional. He added that a letter has also been written to the president for seeking the latter’s opinion on the development.
“The chief secretary and Punjab IG are playing a disgusting role in this matter. They violated all the prerogatives of the Punjab governor's office,” he said, alleging that they tried to put pressure on the governor on the oath taking matter by reasoning the LHC order.