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Thursday, June 20, 2024  
13 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Sanaullah hints at imposing governor rule if Elahi does not take vote of confidence

Says Elahi will cease to remain the CM and governor can summon session to elect a new CM

Amid the political unrest in Punjab, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah hinted on Wednesday at imposing the governor’s rule in the province after Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan disposed Governer Balighur Rehman’s order directing the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence.

“If Punjab chief minister does not take a vote of confidence by 4pm today, he will cease to remain the CM,” the minister told reporters outside the Governor House, adding that the governor could summon a session to elect a new CM.

Sanaullah said that the Punjab governor could also request Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to impose governor rule if they [PTI] tried to do anything illegal or unconstitutional.

The tussle has sparked a debate over the authority of the Punjab governor and the assembly speaker, with experts giving varying opinions.

Speaking at Aaj News programme Faisla Aap Ka with host Asma Shirazi, senior journalist Muneeb Farooq said that Sabtain Khan was not given proper legal guidance as the Governor’s authority under Article 130 (7) remained different in nature from other authorities.

“Constitution has a major overriding effect, rules of business or rules of an assembly are called subordinate legislation and these cannot override the constitution,” he said.

Farooq said that he was very disappointed with the lawyers who were giving legal advice to the PTI and Punjab chief minister.

He cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in a similar situation back in the year 1994 when Pir Sabir Shah was in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and late Benazir Bhutto was prime minister. “At that time Pir Sabir Shah was also asked by the governor to take a vote of confidence, on which he with the help of the then speaker adjourned the assembly session for 35 days. When the matter went to the court, the court made it clear that what the speaker did is unconstitutional and that the governor can ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence.”

Farooq said that this issue could land in courts and the courts would send it back to the Punjab Assembly. “The assembly is the only place where it would be clear whether the Chief Minister can secure vote of confidence or not.”

‘Notice not sent to chief minister’

Responding to Farooq’s interpretation of the situation, Advocate General Punjab Ahmed Owais said that the Punjab governor had sent a notice to the speaker of the Punjab Assembly, but not to the Punjab chief minister.

“The situation, in this case, is not like that of Pir Sabir Shah’s case., but it is simmilar to that of Mazoor Wattoo’s case,” he clarified and cited a ruling of the Lahore High Court in the Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo in 1997.

In line with the LHC’s order, the chief minister should be given “not less than 10 days” to obtain the vote of confidence, he said.

Ahmed Owais said that therefore the conditions of Article 130 (7) were not fulfilled as the notice was not sent to the chief minister.

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) submitted a no-trust motion against the Punjab chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker of the provincial assembly in a bid to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) move to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

Immediately after the PDM submitted the no-trust motion, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman directed the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence from the House on Wednesday (today).

‘Governor’s order unconstitutional, against rules’

On Tuesday, Speaker Punjab Sibtain Khan called the governor’s order unconstitutional and against the rules. Deposing the governor’s order directing the chief minister to take the vote of confidence, Sibtain adjourned the ongoing session of the provincial assembly till Friday, December 23, the day the PTI chief announced dissolving the assemblies.

In a ruling during yesterday’s PA session, Sibtain said that the assembly was “already in session” and the governor could not summon any fresh session during the ongoing session of the provincial assembly as per the rules.

The speaker said that the governor could summon or end a session as per article 109. However, he added, the governor did not end the ongoing session, making his call for a vote of confidence illegal.

According to the law, the chief minister cannot dissolve the assembly if a no-trust motion has been moved against him, while the governor’s requirement for the chief minister to seek a vote of confidence from the house means he has to ensure that he manages to secure 186 votes.

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