LAHORE (our reporter):- The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday directed administration of oath to Chief Minister elect of Punjab Hamza Shahbaz by April 28.
The high court, while announcing the verdict, added that Governor Punjab should ensure the completion of the process of administration of oath of Chief Minister of Punjab, either himself or through his nominee, in terms of the Article 255 of the constitution, on or before April 28, 2022.
Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti announced that there is no vacuum or space in the constitution for causing any delay in the administration of oath, whereas the Province of Punjab is being operated without the functional government for the last 25 days.
The verdicts adds that the oath of the CM-elect is being delayed on one pretext or the other, which is not only against democratic norms but also against the scheme of the constitution.
“Moreover, President of Pakistan, who is also under constitutional obligation to facilitate the expeditious administration of oath of Prime Minister or Chief Minister in any province, hence is suggested to play his role mandated by the constitution/law, ensuring a functional Provincial Government in Punjab.”
The court also directed to transmit the order through fax immediately to the offices of the Governor and President for its placement before them, today.
It merits mention that 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.
Earlier, on April 22, the LHC, in a petition of Hamza, ruled that the governor could not refuse oath to a newly-elected chief minister of a province and expected that the president would nominate any person to administer oath to Hamza Shehbaz without a delay.
In his fresh petition, Hamza said it was evident that the governor and the president were not ready to obey the court order, therefore, it was imperative that a person be nominated by the court in order to protect the Constitution and to enforce its provisions with full force.
Hamza elected Punjab CM
It is pertinent to mention here that Punjab Assembly on April 16 had elected Hamza Shehbaz as new chief minister after a pandemonium of 6 hours amid reservations by the opponents.
The oath of Chief Minister-elect, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif remained in the doldrums after Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema refused to administer the oath terming Hazma’s election by the Punjab Assembly as unconstitutional.
Cheema, in a press conference on April 17, condemned the violence that took place in the Punjab Assembly and said that such incidents set a very wrong precedent.
The Punjab governor accused the CM elect of using “state power” on the polling day against his rivals. Cheema added that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari also acted in a “partisan way”.