LAHORE: Lahore High Court today directed Governor Punjab to administer oath to Hamza Shehbaz Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab till Friday (April 28).
Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (LHC) Ameer Bhatti announced the verdict on a petition of chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz, who said that his oath-taking was being delayed deliberately by Governor Punjab.
LHC said that Governor Punjab Umar Sarfraz Cheema can nominate any other official to administer oath to Hamza Shehbaz in case he (Governor) is not available for this purpose.
LHC noted that delay in administering oath to new chief minister was a violation of the Constitution. The court further observed that for the past 25 days, Punjab province is working without Chief Minister. LHC also directed its registrar to send copies of the decision to Governor Punjab and President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi.
The court also rejected Governor Punjab’s plea that the election of Hamza Shehbaz as Chief Minister was unconstitutional.
Hamza was elected as Punjab’s chief minister on April 16. However, he hasn’t sworn in yet as his oath-taking was deferred twice despite the LHC’s directives for not delaying the matter any further.
The LHC reserved the verdict on Hamza’s plea on Tuesday, which is the second time PML-N has reached out to the high court for the resolution of the matter.
During the hearing, Punjab Advocate-General Ahmad Owais maintained that the Punjab Governor Omer Sarfaraz Cheema had sent a six-page letter to President Arif Alvi and expressed serious concern over the election of the chief minister, besides seeking his advice. He stated that the president had sent the recommendations of the governor to the prime minister.
The AGP also raised objections to the maintainability of the petition, saying that the president’s argument had not been heard.
The argument got LHC Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti’s ire who questioned what law had given the mandate to the governor to examine the validity of the chief minister’s election.
The judge remarked that the prime minister’s advice was not required in the matter, as the election was held in compliance with a judicial order.
The AGP maintained that the court order was received by President Alvi three days ago. “President would look into the matter now,” he added.
The chief justice observed that there was no chief executive for the past so many days in the province while expressing dismay over the inaction by the president on the high court order.
“The president, instead of implementing the judicial order, was giving explanations.
“The court had enlightened the president that he was the head of the state but he might be naive. The court had also made him understand the matter through its order but to no avail,” Justice Bhatti remarked.