On Saturday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hamza Shahbaz was sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab, following orders from the Lahore High Court.
At a ceremony held at the Governor House in Lahore, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf administered the oath to Hamza Shehbaz. The ceremony began with a recitation of the Holy Quran and a naat, after which Hamza was sworn in as Punjab’s chief executive, taking up the mantle that his father, Shehbaz Sharif, had worn three times.
The ceremony was attended by federal ministers, members of the Punjab Assembly, and other political leaders. Maryam Nawaz, vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was also present.
The Punjab chief secretary later informed Hamza that he had taken over the chief minister’s office. “Mr Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif has taken the oath of office of the chief ministry of Punjab before speaker, National Assembly on the 30th day of April, 2022, following the judgement of the Lahore High Court under writ petition no. 27186 of 2022,” according to the notification.
Security around the Governor House had been beefed up ahead of the ceremony, and a large contingent of police had been deployed there.
Governor Cheema urged the chief justice to pay attention to the “ghunda gardi” at the Governor House while the ceremony was in progress. He also claimed that the “drama of a fake chief minister’s oath” was taking place in a “unconstitutional” way.
Delay in taking the oath
On April 16, during a provincial assembly session marred by mayhem and violence, Hamza was elected as Punjab’s chief minister. However, his oath-taking was delayed after Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema refused to administer the oath to him, citing concerns about his election’s legitimacy.
On April 21, Hamza petitioned the Lahore High Court, which ordered President Alvi to appoint a representative to administer the oath in the governor’s absence.
Hamza had the court again on April 25 after the president failed to follow the court’s directive. When the president and governor continued to ignore the court’s orders, Hamza requested the LHC’s help for the third time on Friday.
The LHC directed the NA speaker to administer the oath to Hamza Shehbaz today, which he did on Friday. The Punjab government announced late the same day that the oath-taking ceremony would be held at Governor House at 10.30 a.m.
Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Speaker and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi announced that the LHC’s decision on Hamza’s third plea would be appealed.
“If the courts open in the morning, our lawyers will go and appear in court,” Elahi said. The decision will be appealed the next day.” Elahi, the other candidate for Punjab Chief Minister, had boycotted the province’s chief executive election.
Buzdar’s resignation is rejected by the governor.
Earlier today, Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema rejected Usman Buzdar’s resignation, saying it was “not constitutionally valid.” Buzdar had stepped down as provincial chief executive on March 28.
In a letter to Punjab Assembly Speaker Pavez Elahi, the governor, who had been refusing to administer the oath to Hamza despite court orders to do so, informed him of his decision.
He claimed that the communication could not be considered a letter of resignation because Article 130 (8) of the Constitution stipulated that a resignation letter must be handwritten and addressed to the governor in order to be valid.
According to Cheema, it appears that Buzdar was not properly advised on the matter, or that there may be other reasons for the errors that are “best known to him” (Buzdar).
He regretted that the Punjab governor at the time Buzdar submitted his resignation, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, had not considered the implications of Article 130. (8).
After a delegation of senior lawmakers submitted a no-trust motion against him with Punjab Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti on the same day, Buzdar presented his resignation to former premier Imran on March 28.
Following Buzdar’s resignation, the PTI announced Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q as its candidate for Punjab governor.
Hamza Shahbaz has been sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.