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Monday December 05, 2022

LHC fines Hamza Shahbaz for not responding to pleas against his election

The petitioners submitted that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari allowed non-members besides the police and provincial officials in the House for preventing their members from voting

By Our Correspondent
May 26, 2022
LHC has fined Punjab CM Hamza Shahbaz for not responding to pleas against his election. Photo: The News/File
LHC has fined Punjab CM Hamza Shahbaz for not responding to pleas against his election. Photo: The News/File

LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and the Punjab government each for not submitting their replies on the petitions challenging his election as Punjab chief minister.

The petitions were filed by PTI MPAs, including Sibtain Khan, Zainab Umair, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Syed Abbas Ali Shah and Ahsan Saleem Baryar, and a citizen Muneer Ahmad on which Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had on the previous hearing issued notices to the chief minister, Punjab chief secretary, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari, Punjab governor’s principal secretary and Punjab Assembly’s secretary for filing replies on Wednesday.

The petitions challenged Hamza Shehbaz’s election as Punjab CM on April 16, pleading that the provincial assembly session to elect the chief minister was subjected to chaos and lawlessness by the respondents and non-members, including the police were called in to harass and manhandle the PTI members and to prevent them from voting.

The petitioners submitted that Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari allowed non-members besides the police and provincial officials in the House for preventing their members from voting; as such the election of Hamza as chief minister was fraudulent and illegal. They said the votes of 25 dissident PTI MPAs were also counted and deputy speaker declared him the winner. Although Governor Umar Cheema had refused to accept the election results yet Hamza was administered the oath after the court’s help was invoked.

Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti took notice of the failure to file the replies and observed that carrying out the court orders was mandatory upon everyone under every situation, but unfortunately the respondents failed it despite the sensitive nature of the case at hand. He ordered imposing a fine of Rs100,000 upon the respondents and adjourned the hearing till May 30.

During the proceedings, the additional advocate general and Hamza’s counsel requested the court to grant them more time to submit their replies, but the petitioners’ counsel objected to their plea citing the importance of the matter which shouldn’t be delayed any further. He asked the court to take notice that the Punjab government was functioning without a cabinet and the province was undergoing a constitutional crisis.

The chief Justice said that the case could not proceed without listening to the arguments of the respondents, and once the responses are submitted, the hearing could be held on a daily basis.

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