As the crisis in the province continues, the LHC on Wednesday observed having round-the-clock support from a majority of lawmakers in the House was mandatory for a chief minister and that the governor could ask him to take a vote of confidence from the assembly during an ongoing session, which the latter would be bound to comply with.
The remarks were passed by Justice Asim Hafeez and Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh respectively as the court resumed the hearing of a petition filed against the governor’s move to denotify Parvez Elahi as the Punjab chief minister. It also observed that nearly 20 days had passed since Punjab Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman issued the orders.
Meanwhile, the court also offered to fix the date for the chief minister’s vote of confidence in the Punjab Assembly as the provincial chief executive is adamant not to follow Baligh-ur-Rehman’s directives.
A five-member bench comprising Justice Abid Aziz Shaikh, Justice Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, Justice Asim Hafeez and Justice Muzamil Akhtar Shabir is hearing the matter.
The hearing coincides with an ongoing Punjab Assembly session which has been marred by two consecutive days of protests from the opposition, who are demanding Parvez to take the vote of confidence.
Last month, the Punjab governor had denotified him as the chief minister in a bid to forestall Imran former premier Imran Khan’s plan to dissolve the Punjab Assembly.
In his order dated Dec 22, the governor had said that since the chief minister had refrained from taking a vote of confidence at the appointed day and time, he ceased to hold office. He, however, had asked Parvez to continue working as chief minister until a successor takes charge.
Subsequently, Elahi approached the court, saying the move was “unconstitutional, unlawful and of no legal effect”.
At the previous hearing, the LHC had reinstated the PML-Q leader as the chief minister after he submitted an undertaking assuring the court that he would not dissolve the provincial assembly until the next hearing (today).
On Wednesday, Justice Shaikh remarked that the matter under discussion had not yet been solved. “It will only reach to a conclusion when they [the Punjab government] take the vote of confidence,” the governor’s lawyer said, adding that Parvez had a lot of time to take the trust vote after the previous hearing but he did not do it.
“This clearly shows their ill intention,” he stated and then requested the court to fix a date for the vote of confidence.
Here, Justice Shaikh turned to the counsel for Parvez and asked: “How many days will be suitable for you to take the vote of confidence? We will fix a time accordingly and your problem will be solved.”
But Barrister Ali Zafar pointed out that the speaker’s ruling against the governor’s orders of a no-trust vote had not yet been challenged.
But the question is whether Parvez has the assembly’s support for the post of the chief minister, the court said. “Is there no clarity yet on whether the vote of confidence should be taken or not?”
It’s a developing story. Details to follow