PML-N leader barred from making key decisions as hearing adjourned till Monday
LAHORE – A Supreme Court bench at Lahore Registry relegated Hamza Shahbaz to an interim chief minister of Punjab on Pervaiz Elahi's plea who challenged the shock ruling by the deputy speaker which rejected PML-Q's ten votes amid a crucial vote.
The three-member bench of the top court led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial conducted the proceedings via video link in wake of the rush in the courtroom.
During the hearing, CJP Bandial remarked that it looked like Dost Mazari issued his ruling against the court’s verdict. The top judge also maintained that the PML-N leader can work as a ‘trustee’ until the decision of the case.
The court ordered the deputy speaker to submit his written reply and adjourned the hearing till Monday (July 25) adding that the next hearing would be held in the country’s federal capital Islamabad.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker failed to appear in the court which earlier summoned him. Irfan Qadir appeared before the court on behalf of Deputy Speaker Mazari.
As Punjab Governor administered the oath to Hamza Shahbaz, CJP Bandial maintained that the oath does not matter, adding that the court would see the matters in ‘light of the constitution’.
Several leaders of the former ruling party were present at the court, including Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Sibtain Khan, and Usman Buzdar.
The apex court issued the directives on the petition of Punjab CM candidate who moved court after a contentious ruling by the Punjab Assembly deputy speaker led to his rout.
PTI and its allies slammed Deputy Speaker Mazari for his ruling, while ruling party leaders defended the deputy speaker’s ruling, saying that the Imran Khan-led party celebrated when the votes of its 25 rebel MPAs were discounted in light of the court’s decision.
Meanwhile, coalition government members demanded from the country’s top judge to constitute a full court for hearing petitions regarding the Punjab CM election.
On Friday, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari rejected 10 votes of PML-Q MPAs cast in favour of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and retained PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz as chief minister of Punjab.
Mazari said he rejected these votes in the light of a letter issued by PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain who said he had directed his party's lawmakers to vote for Hamza Shahbaz.
In total, Hamza got 179 votes and Parvez 186 votes. However, 10 votes cast in favour of Parvez were rejected.
The runoff election comes after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) conducted polls on 20 provincial seats, which fell vacant after the PTI MPAs were de-seated for violating party guidelines.
In the by-polls, PTI secured 15 seats, taking lead in number games ahead of the CM election, while PML-N managed to bag four seats and independent candidate won in one constituency.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar in the open market on March 4, 2024 (Monday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.3 for buying and 282.45 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 302.5 for buying and 305.5 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 354 for buying, and 359 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.3 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.5.
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