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Saturday February 04, 2023

Punjab governor can’t decline oath to CM-elect Hamza, secretary tells Sarfraz Cheema

The principal secretary warns Omer Sarfraz Cheema that he will violate the constitution if he refuses to administer the oath to the newly elected CM

April 18, 2022
Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema. Photo: Geo News/ screengrab/ file
Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema. Photo: Geo News/ screengrab/ file

LAHORE: Punjab’s governor cannot decline to administer the oath to the chief minister-elect under any circumstances, the principal secretary to the governor told Omer Sarfraz Cheema after he postponed the swearing-in ceremony of Hamza Shehbaz a day earlier.

The principal secretary warned Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema that he will violate the Constitution if he refuses to administer the oath to the newly elected chief minister.

Hamza Shahbaz was to take the oath of his office on Sunday but PTI’s Omar Sarfraz Cheema abruptly postponed the oath-taking ceremony, citing the Punjab Assembly secretary’s report, the Lahore High Court’s instructions and the facts presented to him.

In his letter, the principal secretary said that no power was vested in the governor under the Constitution or any law to set aside the election under any circumstances.

“The Punjab Assembly secretary had in all probability rendered himself liable to contempt proceedings for a completely illegal report that smacks of mala fide,” read the letter.

The secretary told the governor that the assembly secretary’s report had been found one-sided, biased and politically motivated.

“I have no power under any provision of the Constitution, the law or the Rules of the Punjab Assembly 1997 to call into question the declaration of the result by the deputy speaker, who is duly authorised by the Lahore High Court to conduct the election for the office of the chief minister,” he added.

The PA secretary had already been suspended by the deputy speaker and his entry into the House has been banned, the letter added.

Oath-taking ceremony postponed

On Sunday, Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema had “postponed” the oath-taking ceremony of CM-elect Hamza Shehbaz as he ruled his election controversial due to the ruckus that took place in the assembly a day earlier.

Cheema, in a press conference, had condemned the violence that took place in the Punjab Assembly on Saturday and said that such incidents set a very wrong precedent.

“I am a political worker and have fought elections. This a very wrong precedent being set,” the governor had said.

The Punjab governor had accused the CM-elect of using “state power” on the polling day against his rival the PTI and PML-Q.

“I believe if Hamza Shehbaz had enough votes, then he should not have made the election controversial like this,” said Cheema.

The governor had also questioned whether the election for the Punjab chief minister was conducted as per the directives of the LHC and said that he had summoned a report from the secretary of the Punjab Assembly related to the ruckus and violence that took place during the session.