The Lahore High Court annulled the election of Hamza Shahbaz as Punjab chief minister in a massive blow to the PML-N and Sharif family.
A five-judge bench of the LHC made the decision while hearing appeals filed by the PTI, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi against different single-bench decisions regarding the election and oath-taking of Hamza Shahbaz.
The bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh announced the verdict with a 4-1 majority.
Hamza was elected chief minister in April by 197 votes which included 25 votes of dissident PTI lawmakers. This was 11 more than the 186 votes required for a simple majority in the 371-seat Punjab Assembly.
In its short order, the court all but ruled that Hamza Shehbaz would stay on as Punjab chief minister
The Election Commission will now decide when fresh elections can be held. The fate of the next CM will lie with independent politicians. As per the court order, re-polling likely July 1, excluding 25 PTI dissident MPAs who voted for Hamza.
The PTI petition was heard by the Lahore High Court’s five judges, Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahram Sarwar Chaudhry and Justice Tariq Saleem, Justice Shahid Jamil and Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi.
PML-N’s Uzma Bukhari said that there was no need to challenge the court decision.
The court has admitted that the government is fake, came the reaction from Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan. PML-N members should be ashamed, he added. “Six independent candidates are in touch with us.”
“The decision will be ours before July 17,” he went on to say. “The PTI will form the government in Punjab.”
Any new chief minister will need 186 votes or half the strength of the Punjab Assembly to be elected.