Punjab still in turmoil



May 7, 2022

Punjab still in turmoil

Umair Jalali looks at a consistently troublesome situation


The Punjab still in turmoil has refused to die down in Punjab as the classic war of attribution between the provincial government and the top constitutional federal representatives who belong to the former ruling party is still raging and there appears to be no end of it. Although National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf administered oath to Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz after weeks of deadlock but just hours after Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema rejected Usman Buzdar’s resignation, deeming it not constitutionally valid. In unprecedented scenes, Buzdar’s cabinet was restored by Cheema, which even convened for a meeting, as guests were arriving to the Governor House to attend Hamza’s oath-taking ceremony. This has generated quite a funny situation in which the governor, as representative of the federal government, has come out in open against the government itself.
Despite such open discord Hamza was sworn in as the chief executive of Punjab still in turmoil, picking up a mantle held three times by his father, Shehbaz Sharif. Later, the Punjab chief secretary notified that Hamza had assumed the charge of the chief minister’s office. However, Cheema termed the notification for Hamza’s assumption of the CM office fake and stated that as the governor he was not allowing the notification for the appointment of any unconstitutional and fake chief minister. The way they forcibly and deceitfully put up a drama of the oath-taking, they have now attempted to prepare a fake notification for it.
Hamza Shehbaz was elected as the Punjab CM on 16 April, during a provincial assembly session that was marred by mayhem and violence. His oath-taking, however, faced delays after Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema refused to administer oath to him, questioning the validity of his election. Subsequently, Hamza had approached the Lahore High Court on 21 April, which instructed President Alvi to appoint a representative to administer the oath in the absence of the governor. However, after a delay by the president in following the court’s directive, Hamza had approached the court again on 25 April.
This time, he had asked the LHC to instruct Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to administer oath to him. In his ruling, LHC Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti had directed Governor Cheema to complete Hamza’s oath-taking process by 28 April. When the president and governor still failed to follow the court’s instructions, Hamza sought the LHC’s intervention for a third time requesting the court to direct the administration of oath to the chief minister-elect by a person nominated by this honourable court at the Governor House at a specified time and the coercive arm of the state be set in motion for implementation of the orders of this honourable court. Finally, LHC directed the NA speaker to administer the oath to Hamza Shehbaz.
Earlier, after a protracted political activity by the then opposition, Buzdar had presented his resignation to then-premier Imran on 28 March after a delegation of senior lawmakers had submitted a no-trust motion against him with Punjab still in turmoil Assembly. Following Buzdar’s resignation, the PTI had announced PML-Q’s Elahi as its candidate for Punjab chief minister. The move had come as the ruling party had stepped up efforts to ensure the support of its allies ahead of a no-trust vote against Imran, against the backdrop of multiple PTI allies joining the opposition.
On 1 April, the then-governor Ch. Sarwar had formally accepted Buzdar’s resignation and summoned a session of the Punjab Assembly for the election of a new provincial chief executive. Two days later, Sarwar was removed from the post and replaced with Cheema. On 20 April, the acceptance of former Punjab chief minister Buzdar’s resignation by ex-governor Sarwar was challenged in the LHC. The petition also contested the acceptance of resignation on the basis of Article 130 (8). It was withdrawn after a rebuke of the high court.
The matters became further complicated when Governor Cheema had rejected the resignation of Buzdar. Elaborating on the saga that unfolded after Buzdar submitted his resignation on 28 March, Cheema pointed out that the communication which was styled as the resignation was a printed letter addressed to the prime minister. He maintained that under Article 130 (8) of the Constitution, the communication could not be treated as a letter of resignation as the said provision mandated that in order for a resignation letter to be valid, it had to be handwritten and addressed to the governor.
Cheema said it seemed Buzdar was not advised properly on the matter or there may be some other reasons for these errors best known to Buzdar. He regretted that Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, who was the Punjab still in turmoil governor when Buzdar had submitted his resignation, had not taken into consideration the implications of Article 130 (8). Cheema recalled that he had communicated these details to President Arif Alvi via a letter forwarded to the latter on 23 April enumerating issues relating to the disputed election between the rival candidates to the office of the chief minister was highly embarrassing and in violation to the Constitution as well as the Rules of the Assembly. TW

Read More

Umair Jalali teaches in Denning Law School and is an avid sports fan


The writ of international law
The writ of international law
M Ali Siddiqi looks at a crucial...
Resurgence of fascism
Resurgence of fascism
M Ali Siddiqi describes a dangerous...
President Xi Jinping
XI on his way to ruling China for life
M Ali Siddiqi talks about apparent...
Governance and equitable distribution of resources
Governance and equitable distribution of resources
M Ali Siddiqi talks about Governance...
The Need For Pakistan
The Need For Pakistan
M A Siddiqi expresses surprise...
The Presence And Essence Of Pakistaniat
The Presence And Essence Of Pakistaniat
M Ali Siddiqi describes a strong...

Get Newsletters


Subscribe Us