The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday accepted the appeals that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had filed against the election of Hamza Shahbaz as chief minister, and it ordered a recount of votes with the exclusion of the 25 defecting party members who voted for him. This was a major blow to the PML-government N’s in Punjab, which had been leading the province.
The decision was handed down today by a bigger bench of the LHC presided over by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and consisting of Justice Shahid Jamil, Justice Shehram Sarwar, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi, and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh. The judgment was handed down 4-1.
Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi voiced an opinion that was contrary to that of his fellow justices.
Commenting on the verdict, Geo News anchor and legal analyst Muneeb Farooq stated that according to Article 130(4) of the Constitution, the second round of voting is held if the candidate does not receive a majority vote in the provincial assembly. He was referring to the fact that this provision was cited in his commentary.
The LHC has given instructions for the second round of voting to take place at a session of the Punjab Assembly to be held on July 1 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. He said that vote would take place after removing the 25 PTI legislators who are refusing to cooperate.
According to what Farooq understood the court’s ruling to say, the position of chief minister would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes on July 1. In spite of this, the choices that Hamza Shahbaz took in his capacity as a chief minister have been upheld by the court, he said further.
According to him, the session on July 1 would be presided over by the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly since Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is a candidate for the position of speaker.
In his explanation of the result, Farooq said that there is no need of obtaining 186 votes in the second round of voting, and added that the position of chief minister would be awarded to the candidate who receives the majority of votes.
Elections will be won by the PML-N:
Attaullah Tarar, the head of the PML-N, was speaking to the media and said that the party respects all of the rulings that have been handed down by the courts.
“The court neither nullified the previous elections nor ordered fresh elections,” said Tarar, adding that the court has directed that the previous voting process be carried out after the exclusion of 25 votes. “The court neither nullified the previous elections nor ordered fresh elections,” said Tarar. He insisted that Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz would continue to serve in his position till the runoff elections.
He mentioned the party’s numbers in the house and said that the PML-N has the backing of 177 MPs in the house, while the PML-Q and PTI both have 168 votes. He was talking about the number of parties in the house.
“We have the majority with nine votes in the house,” he said, adding that they are optimistic that PML-N would win tomorrow’s election. “We have the majority with nine votes in the house,” he added.
Hamza no longer Punjab CM:
PTI leader Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said in an interview with Geo News that the LHC had granted all three of the petitions that his party had submitted to the court.
“Hamza is not the chief minister anymore,” he stated, adding that a fresh election will be conducted for the position of chief minister of Punjab. “Hamza is no longer in that role.”
He sent his best wishes to the people of Punjab for their victory in court. He criticized the PML-N by saying that Hamza Shahbaz was exercising the powers of the Chief Minister for over two months despite the fact that he did not have a majority in the parliament.
He guaranteed that the PTI will be victorious in the next election for the position of Chief Minister of Punjab.
In response to a query, the leader of the PTI said that the judgment in this particular instance would most certainly have an effect on the by-elections.
Where do we stand?
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) have filed a complaint against the election of Hamza Shahbaz, which took place on April 16 during a tumultuous session.
Both Hamza Shahbaz and Pervez Elahi, who had previously competed for the role, have decided to do so once again.
The responsibilities of monitoring the CM election will fall on the deputy speaker. In the event that a resolution of no confidence is brought up against him, the proceedings will be presided over by a committee of chairman.
As a result of the judgment made by the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of Pakistan has removed the 25 PTI defectors from their positions. On July 17, there will be by-elections to fill the 20 empty seats, and the campaign has already gotten off to a good start.
On the PTI’s priority list of reserved seats, there are two members of a minority group and three female members, but the province Election Commission has not yet notified them.
Following the execution of the top court’s ruling for notification of members on reserved seats, the opposition coalition will acquire five more seats, bringing their total to twenty-five. 351 of the assembly’s members will cast ballots during the election for the position of the chief minister; the other 20 members will enter the legislature only after the by-elections have been held.
At the moment, the governing coalition has the backing of 177 Members of the Provincial Assembly. Of them, 160 are members of the PML-N, four are independents, one is from the Rah-e-Haq Party, and seven are from the PPP. After the de-seating of 25 of its members of the Punjab Assembly, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) now has 158 MPAs in the assembly.
Nevertheless, after the reserved members are informed, the total number of party members will increase to 163. In addition to that, it has the backing of ten Members of Parliament for the PML-Q. The coalition of opposition politicians is backed by a total of 173 members of the legislative body. Due to the fact that there is a difference of just four votes between the governing coalition and the opposition alliance, the vote cast by Chaudhry Nisar would be highly significant in this scenario.
In the event that Hamza Shehbaz is elected to the position, where he now has a razor-thin lead of four votes, the governing alliance will need to gain nine seats in the by-elections in order to be successful in obtaining the vote of confidence. As a consequence of this, the fate of both coalitions will be determined by the outcomes of the by-elections.