LAHORE: In a surprise move, Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema on Saturday morning “rejected” the resignation of Usman Buzdar as chief minister hours before the oath-taking ceremony of CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz Sharif.
The development came after the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC), directing National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to administer the oath to Hamza Shahbaz today at 11:30am.
In his letter to Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, Omar Sarafraz Cheema said that the March 28 resignation letter of Usman Buzdar was not in accordance with the rules as it was addressed to the prime minister and not to the governor which was mandatory as per sub-section 8 of Article 130 of the Constitution.
“The resignation was not addressed to the governor which was unconstitutional and thus rejected. Consequently, the provincial cabinet has been restored,” Cheema stated.
Buzdar had stepped down from his post last month after the PTI decided to nominate PML-Q’s Elahi as Punjab CM in return for the party’s support for a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Later, the then governor Chauhdry Mohammad Sarwar had accepted Buzdar’s resignation after an in-person meeting with Buzdar.
Meanwhile, Usman Buzdar has summoned a meeting of the Punjab Cabinet today for which provincial ministers have started to arrive at the assembly building.
Speaking to Geo News, Murad Raas and Mian Aslam Iqbal said that there’s no crisis in the province as Governor Cheema holds a constitutional office and he has taken a decision on the matter.
Governor House’s security beefed up
Moreover, security was tightened around Punjab Governor House for the oath-taking ceremony of Hamza Shehbaz. Roads leading to the Governor’s House were sealed to avoid any untoward situation.
On Friday, Justice Jawad Hassan of the LHC, while concluding the third petition of Hamza Shehbaz, directed NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf to administer the oath to Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz today.
The LHC announced the verdict on the third petition of Hamza Shehbaz, who had sought the court’s directions to complete his oath-taking process.
The judgment had stated that both the decisions of this court despite having binding effect have been ignored deliberately by the President of Pakistan as well as by the Governor of Punjab. The governor through his conduct has also himself made it impracticable for the oath to be made before him.
“Respect for the law is never maintained by force but by the appreciation of the reasons, appreciating its veracity and through obedience. Unfortunately, sometimes, the law falls in crisis due to misunderstanding or lack of vision.”
Hamza had filed the petition in the court seeking directions to nominate a person due to the defiant behaviour of the President of Pakistan and Governor of the Punjab province.