Thursday March 30, 2023

President Arif Alvi accepts PM Shehbaz Sharif’s advice on Punjab governor

President Alvi approved the summary on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif under Article 101(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan

May 31, 2022
President Arif Alvi. Photo: The News/File
President Arif Alvi. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: After rejecting the summary twice, President Arif Alvi on Monday approved the appointment of Muhammad Balighur Rehman as the governor of Punjab.

President Alvi approved the summary on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif under Article 101(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan. On May 21, President Alvi had urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider his advice on the appointment of the new governor as there was “no occasion” to propose a new appointment.

In response to the Prime Minister’s summary of appointing a new governor, the President had reiterated, “The Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President as envisaged under Article 101 (2) of the Constitution.”

However, sources said the Prime Minister had asserted that Balighur Rehman would be the governor of Punjab. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had maintained that if the President did not respond to his advice in 10 days, Rehman would take the oath as the governor of Punjab as the summary was sent to the President for the second time.

Balighur Rehman, a PMLN stalwart, finally took oath as Punjab governor after a month long tug-of-war between the President Office and the Prime Minister Secretariat came to end over the issue. The oath-taking ceremony took place at the Governor’s House and Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Amir Bhatti administered the oath.

Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz also attended the oath-taking and expressed good wishes for him. He added that Balighur Rehman would utilise this office for public welfare and they both would jointly serve the people. “Today, the Constitution remains supreme as those who played havoc with it and tried to create hurdles are defeated. Almighty Allah opens a passage when one’s commitment and passion are true and noble,” he concluded.

Balighur Rehman hails from Bahawalpur, a district of South Punjab, and served as an MNA in 2008 and 2013. He also served as the State Minister for Interior in the PMLN tenure after 2013. His cousin, Qazi Adnan Farid, has also served as an MPA. Balighur Rehman was the choice of Shehbaz Sharif after he was elected Prime Minister in April. However, Balighur Rehman had to wait for over a month after a tussle started between the President House and the Prime Minister Secretariat when Omar Sarfaraz Cheema of the PTI, appointed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan after Chaudhry Sarwar’s dismissal, was removed through a notification by the federal cabinet. Omar Cheema also moved the court to challenge his dismissal.

Meanwhile, the summary sent to the President for approval remained there for nearly a month. Former Governors Zulfiqar Khosa and Latif Khosa also belonged to Southern Punjab. On the other hand, as Governor Balighur Rehman took the oath of his office, Punjab Advocate General Ahmed Owais resigned from his post. He sent his resignation to the new governor.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz’s eight-member cabinet also took the oath. Newly-appointed Governor Balighur Rehman administrated the oath to the provincial ministers. Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz was also present. Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Ata Tarar, Ali Haider Gilani, Awais Leghari, Salman Rafique, Malik Ahmad Khan, Hassan Murtaza and Bilal Asghar also took the oath in the first phase.

PPP leader Hassan Murtaza will be the senior minister while Khawaja Salman Rafique has been given the portfolio of health minister and Awais Leghari the portfolio of local government minister.