LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday rejected a plea seeking early elections and ordered the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker to hold the election for the Punjab chief minister slot on April 16.
LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti announced the verdict which he had reserved on the petitions filed for holding the election of the Punjab chief minister a day earlier. PMLN leader Hamza Shehbaz, a contender for the Punjab CM post, had filed a plea in the LHC for holding early elections, while Punjab PA Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari had moved the court for the revocation of his powers.
Rejecting Hamza’s plea, LHC CJ Bhatti restored the Punjab PA Deputy Speaker’s powers which were withdrawn last week and asked him to hold the polls for the Punjab CM slot on April 16 and ordered all parties to perform their roles impartially.
The LHC top judge said that all the personnel of the Punjab Assembly will work to ensure holding election on time, while the repair work of the Punjab Assembly should be completed before 11:00am on the polling day.
The CM's office fell vacant nearly two weeks before when Punjab ex-governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar — who was removed from his position last week — accepted Usman Buzdar's resignation on April 1.
The divide within the PTI widened when the Punjab PA Deputy Speaker summoned the Punjab Assembly session for the CM election on April 6 instead of April 16 — a move that drew his party's ire and party MPAs filed a no-confidence motion against him.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan had nominated Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi for chief minister, but since there is a divide within PTI on the decision, he is expected to face a tough competition with the opposition recently showing that it has the required numbers to win the polls.
In a symbolic session of the provincial assembly, the opposition elected PMLN leader Hamza Shehbaz as the chief minister after the Speaker sealed off the Punjab Assembly — following Mazari's decision to call the session without consulting his party and Pervaiz Elahi.
Members from the PMLN, PPP, PTI's Jahangir Khan Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan groups attended the session. PMLN leader and MPA Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan had claimed that more than 200 MPAs were present at the hotel for the session.
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