Vote of confidence: LHC asks whether Punjab crisis is over

A five-member Lahore High Court (LHC) bench suspended the hearing of a petition against the denotification of Parvez Elahi as Punjab chief minister just after a few minutes as one of the members recused himself from the case.

On Friday, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, who was heading the bench, said one of the judges – Justice Farooq Haider – did not want to hear the matter as he had remained a counsel of Parvez in the past.

He noted that LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti would be requested to form a new bench.

Later, the chief justice formed a new bench, replacing Justice Aziz Sheikh with Justice Asim Hafeez, which will hear the soon in the afternoon.

Earlier, LHC Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti had formed the five-member bench to hear the petition filed by Parvez Elahi, challenging the denotification order of Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman today.

Parvez Elahi had moved the court early on Friday to declare the governor’s move “illegal”. Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan was asked to summon a session for vote of confidence, who did not convene the session as one was already underway. “No action can be taken against any chief minister over speaker’s actions,” maintains the petition.

Baligh-ur-Rehman had denotified Chief Minister Parvez Elahi in the wee hours of Friday. He cited the failure to take vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly to justify his action and said Parvez ceased to hold the office.

“I am satisfied that he does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly, and therefore ceases to hold his office with immediate effect,” Baligh-ur-Rehman noted in his order.

He said Parvez refrained from obtaining the vote of confidence at 1600 hours Wednesday and “he still has not done so even after the lapse of another 24 hours”

The governor, however, asked Parvez to continue working as chief minister until his successor takes charge.

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