ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has rejected the advice of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to remove Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema from office.
According to a statement issued by the President's Office, President Arif Alvi said that the Governor cannot be removed without the approval of the President.
President Alvi further said that the Governor of Punjab has not done anything against the Constitution under which he should be removed from office.
Referring to clause 3 of Article 101 of the Constitution, he stated that the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
The incumbent governor could not be removed as there was neither any allegation of misconduct nor conviction by any court of law or of any act committed by him contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan.
Highlighting the Constitutional role of the Governor of Punjab, the President said that the governor had also sent a report earlier regarding the unfortunate happenings in the Punjab Assembly, questioned the validity of the resignation of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and shifting of loyalties.
The President stated he was convinced that the removal of the Governor would be unfair and against the norms of justice.
The President emphasized it was essential that the incumbent Governor should continue to stay to encourage and promote a healthy and clean democratic system where members are not coerced or bought to bring about an illegitimate change and Article 63A of the Constitution specifically discouraged such activities.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah warned President Arif Alvi and Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema that President Alvi was bound by the advice of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and deviating from it would be unconstitutional. Follow the court's order and refrain from violating the Constitution, he had said.
The interior minister said that in a parliamentary democracy the office of the President is symbolic and that the president does not have veto power, adding that the President Office is not a PTI Secretariat.
Last week PM Shehbaz sent a summary to the president for the removal of Cheema fromn the office as the incumbent Governor Cheema has been causing problems for the PML-N in Punjab and had triggered a constitutional crisis after he refused to administer the oath to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz.