The Lahore High Court (LHC) larger bench has observed that ordering a new election for Punjab chief minister slot was a violation of the Supreme Court’s verdict, a day after it hinted at holding fresh polls for the Punjab chief minister’s slot.
A five-member bench of the LHC headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan on Wednesday heard the intra-court appeals filed by PTI and PML-Q pertaining to the election and oath-taking of Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz.
Referring to the apex court’s verdict related to the interpretation of Article 63-A, the PTI lawyers contended that the Supreme Court ruling was applicable to the past events as well, hence the elections of CM Hamza should be declared null and void.
Earlier in April this year, Hamza was elected as the new chief minister of Punjab by securing 194 votes which also include 25 votes of PTI dissident lawmakers.
In light of the apex court’s verdict, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-notified the dissident PTI MPAs for defying the party directives and voting for Hamza for the Punjab CM slot.
During today’s hearing, Hamza’s counsel Mansoor Usman Awan argued that the Supreme Court’s verdict related to Article 63-A was not applicable to past events and requested the court to reject the petitions challenging the election of CM Hamza.
The LHC bench remarked that the Supreme Court had only ordered not to count the votes of the defecting lawmakers and the verdict did not contain any directives to declare the election of the Punjab chief minister null and void.
The court also maintained that in line with the apex court ruling, the votes of the dissident MPAs will not be counted and poll would be held under the April 16 circumstances when Hamza was elected as the new chief minister of the province.
Barrister Ali Zafar remarked that if 25 votes were not counted Hamza would lose the majority in the House and would not be able to retain the post of the provincial chief executive.
The court, after hearing the arguments adjourned the hearing till 12.30pm tomorrow (Thursday).
Speaking to the media outside LHC, Barrister Ali Zafar said if votes of PTI dissident lawmakers were not counted then CM Hamza will likely be de-notified.
In case the LHC announces its verdict against the incumbent CM, the same candidates, Hamza Shehbaz and Pervez Elahi, will once again vie for the slot anf for the vote of confidence, the new chief minister will require to attain 186 votes which is the half of the strength of the House.