LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court in its bid to challenge the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s verdict reinstating Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Geo News reported quoting sources.
The LHC had, a day earlier, restored the provincial cabinet and Elahi as the chief minister after he assured the court about not dissolving the Punjab Assembly once he regains control of the office.
The development, according to sources, came after the party’s members of the Punjab Assembly met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at his residence in Lahore.
Sources said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ) leader Tariq Bashir Cheema was also present in the high-level meeting where the decision to challenge CM Elahi’s reinstatement was taken.
It was learnt through sources that PMLN’s counsels also prepared a draft of the petition to be submitted to the apex court against the LHC’s order.
Earlier on Saturday, the federal government urged the country’s top court to take notice of the ongoing turmoil in Punjab, stating that the LHC’s decision does not fit legal parameters.
Federal ministers Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah, and Tariq Bashir Cheema had earlier in the day requested the apex court to take suo motu notice of Punjab’s deteriorating political situation, including the chief minister’s reinstatement.
Addressing a press conference, Rana Sana and Khawaja Saad requested that the judicial decision should be reviewed or a suo motu action should be taken and the Punjab government should be limited to day-to-day business to prevent corruption.
Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Attaullah Tarar, Azma Bukhari, Rana Arshad and others were also present on the occasion.
Sana and Saad said that the PMLN and its allies had serious reservations about the LHC decision. They also hinted at challenging the decision.
Sana said the doctrine of necessity was never buried in Pakistan. He said the destruction that Imran Khan had done was not over and they were trying to reverse it.
“How can those who have gone into minority in Punjab be allowed to implement the Constitution,” he said, adding that Imran Khan and his colleagues wanted Pakistan not to move forward and repeatedly attacked the democratic system.
Sana claimed that Imran still wanted the establishment’s involvement in politics and put him on the throne. He said that the PTI chief talked about this openly and he had no shame.
“Enough is enough, this game of dirty politics should end,” he said, adding that the PMLN and its allies didn’t want to get into it.
Khwaja Saad Rafique alleged that on Saturday the ruling group in Punjab was offering Rs2 billion each to its MPAs to give Elahi a vote of confidence or become part of the assembly dissolution.
Defending the action of Punjab governor, both the federal ministers said that the Baligh Ur Rehman adopted and followed the constitutional process. They repeated that they were requesting the LHC and Supreme Court to reconsider the judicial decision on the issue of Punjab and put a ban on their corruption and looting, otherwise they would inflict a heavy loss to Punjab exchequer in eighteen days.
Sana said Imran and his group were engaged in anti-national activities and the people should understand this as it might cause the country to suffer. “We are fighting them firmly and have not escaped from the elections,” he said, adding that it was a unanimous decision of the PMLN and its allies that the elections should be held on time and assemblies should complete their term. “We have started preparations for the elections and are finalising the constituency-wise candidates,” he said.
Khwaja Saad said that PM Shehbaz Sharif brought the country back from a dangerous situation where Imran had left it. He said since the day Imran was removed, he and his party didn’t allow them to work. “The most classic example of this is the telephone call of Shaukat Tarin to the provincial finance minister, heard by the whole nation in which he was asking the provincial finance minister to write a letter to the IMF,” he maintained.
Imran was shouting that the assemblies should be dissolved and early elections should be held but dissolving the assemblies was not that easy, he said and maintained that the Punjab chief minister deliberately avoided taking a vote of confidence on governor’s orders, which was an unconstitutional move. He said the governor gave regular time for this but Parvez Elahi had lost the majority due to which he was now hiding behind a stay order.
He said the court, in its decision, had given 18 days to Elahi, adding that the PMLN and its allies fear there might be horse trading during the period. He said if Elahi had had the majority, he would have taken the vote of confidence.
He said, “We have had a meeting and there is a possibility that we will challenge this decision. We don’t want horse trading in Punjab and the assembly should do its work as per the Constitution,” he added.
Rana Sana questioned why Imran did not dissolve the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on December 23, the date he announced in his last address. He said the Punjab Assembly speaker had done exactly the same that the deputy speaker in the National Assembly had done. He said when the PPP was completing its term, Nawaz Sharif was asked to go on a long march to topple the government but the PMLN supremo said that the government should complete its term.
The interior minister further said that three things were announced by Imran Khan that the Punjab Assembly would be dissolved, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly would be dissolved and they would appear in the National Assembly and would ask the speaker to accept their resignations, but nothing happened.
He said on the one hand Elahi was saying that 99 percent of the members of Punjab Assembly were not in favour of dissolving the assembly and, on the other hand, he was saying that he had signed the summary of dissolving the assembly. “Assemblies are constitutional institutions, they are the basis of democracy and no one will be allowed to play with them for personal desire and ego,” he added.
Answering a question, he said the governor had constitutional powers and he could ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence. He further said that it was the duty of the governor to ensure true representation of MPAs in the assembly.
Sana asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to intervene in the matter and take action to save Punjab from disaster.
Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said that they had decided the future course of action in the light of the court decision in the meeting and how to approach other forums. He said Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had reiterated that people’s mandate should be ensured in the Punjab Assembly.
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