Thursday June 01, 2023

Punjab Assembly dissolved as governor refrains from signing summary

Parvez Elahi will hold the post of chief minister until caretaker government is appointed

January 14, 2023
Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi speaks on the floor of the provincial assembly in Lahore on January 12, 2023. — Twitter/@ChParvezElahi
Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi speaks on the floor of the provincial assembly in Lahore on January 12, 2023. — Twitter/@ChParvezElahi

Following Punjab Governor Baligh ur Rehman’s decision to refrain from signing the summary sent by Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, Punjab Assembly was dissolved on Saturday, Geo News reported citing sources.

CM Elahi forwarded the summary of dissolution on Thursday, and as per the constitution, the assembly dissolves within 48 hours regardless of the governor's decision.

“I have decided not to become part of the process leading to the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly," the governor announced on Twitter.

Rehman — a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) — said that he would rather let the constitution and law take their own course. “Doing so will not hamper any legal process as the constitution clearly provides a way forward,” he wrote.

Elahi will continue to serve as chief minister of the province until a caretaker government is appointed.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced the dissolution of the assembliesKhyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab — on November 28, 2022. However, the plans were delayed due to consultations with allies and countermeasures adopted by the PDM.

'Governor trampled democratic decisions'

In response to the governor's statement, PTI Senior Vice Chairman Fawad Chaudhry said this wasn’t the first time he had "trampled the democratic decisions just to please your undemocratic masters".

Taking to his Twitter handle, Fawad said: “Your decision was against the dignity of your position”, claiming that as 48 hours have passed the assembly now stood dissolved.

The former information minister said that the PTI will now face the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in the field.

Following the placement of a caretaker chief minister, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is bound to carry out general elections in the province within 90 days.

The electoral body can hold polls within 22 to 45 days because constitutionally it requires at least 22 days to scrutinise the nomination papers of the candidates.

The candidates will be given 29 to 30 days to run the election campaign. Considering such a timeline, it is possible that the ECP may conduct the polls between March 1-April 10.

Nawaz Sharif directs party to prepare for elections

Ahead of the assembly's dissolution, former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif directed the party's leadership to prepare for elections in Punjab.

The PML-N elder made these remarks in a consultation meeting of the party in London, according to a statement from Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.

Nawaz also instructed the party to establish a parliamentary board, according to Aurangzeb, and directed all workers to "go ahead with full passion, confidence, and full preparation and strength".

Governor Rehman sent letters for caretaker govt

Following the dissolution, Rehman sent letters to CM Elahi and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz for the appointment of a caretaker government.

How is interim chief minister appointed?

Until the formation of a caretaker government, Elahi will continue his duties as the CM albeit for a few days.

It is only incumbent Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan, out of all elected representatives, who will hold his position until the newly-elected lawmakers take an oath and elect his replacement.

For the formation of a caretaker government, CM Elahi will write to the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shahbaz, within 48 hours of the dissolution of the assembly, seeking three names for the caretaker chief minister and will suggest three names himself.

If an impasse, between the two leaders, lasts for three days, then the speaker will form a committee comprising six members of the outgoing assembly with equal representation from the treasury and the opposition.

To the committee, the CM and the leader of the opposition will forward two nominees each.

The committee then will have three days to evolve consensus on one name. If that fails as well then the names of the nominees will be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision within two days.

The selected nominee will perform his/her duties as the interim CM until the formation of a new government in the province. The interim CM also has the power to induct his own cabinet.