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LHC allows deputy speaker to conduct Punjab CM election


Despite Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) attempts, Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on Wednesday allowed Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari to conduct the election for the chief minister’s slot scheduled for April 16.

In the three-page order released on April 13, CJ Bhatti also set aside the order through which the powers of the deputy speaker were withdrawn.

He also turned down a request by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for holding the contest earlier than April 16.

In his order, the Lahore High Court chief justice said: “The powers of the deputy speaker in terms of Rule 25 of the Rules of Procedure were withdrawn, being contrary to Article 53(3) of the Constitution by virtue of which Deputy Speaker in absence of the Speaker attained the status of Speaker for this Session, completely overriding the powers provided in Rules, is hereby set aside”.

He directed that “the Deputy Speaker on the date fixed April 16, 2022 shall proceed to elect the Chief Minister in terms of sub-Article (3) of Article 130 of the Constitution read with Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure and all other enabling provisions and powers in this behalf. The Deputy Speaker and all other persons including the Provincial government are directed to act impartially, justly and fairly to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution”.

Also read: LHC orders opening of Punjab deputy speaker’s office

The order further stated, “during the course of arguments the respondent’s counsel including the Advocate General Punjab (AGP) have not shown any reservation for holding election in terms of Article 130(3) of the Constitution read with Rule 20 of the Rules of Procedure on April 16, who shall not, in any manner, hinder, obstruct or interfere with any member of the provincial assembly who wish to attend the session summoned as above, and to participate in, and cast their votes in terms of short order of the Supreme Court dated April 7, 2022. The Secretary and other employees of the provincial assembly shall make all efforts to provide assistance which they otherwise are under legal obligation in this regard”.

He also directed the Punjab Assembly secretary to ensure the completion of renovation work of the assembly a day prior to the election so that it should be made available for use for the members of the assembly on April 16 in a respectable manner.

Earlier, the court after hearing detailed arguments had reserved its decision on April 12 after the counsels from PML-N, PML-Q, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and the PA secretariat could not reach a consensus over the neutrality of a person to preside the house.

A reliable source claimed that the PML-Q will now file intra court appeal against the order.

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