A 37-member cabinet of Punjab’s “trustee” Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz took oath of their offices at the Governor House on Sunday evening upon the decision of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during a provincial cabinet meeting a day earlier, local media reported.
Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman administered the oath to the cabinet members. Notably, the Supreme Court had appointed Hamza as “trustee” chief minister barring him from making any major decision.
The oath-taking ceremony was held at the Governor House around 16 hours before the Supreme Court is to take up on Monday the case related to the controversial runoff poll for the office of chief minister conducted on Friday, the Dawn reported.
The cabinet members include former speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Mehr Iqbal Achlana, ex-food minister Malik Nadeem Kamran, Bilal Yasin, former education minister Rana Mashhood, former health minister Khwaja Imran Nazir, Yawar Zaman, Manshaallah Butt, former agriculture minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Saba Sadiq, Malik Asad Khokhar, Saiful Malook Khokhar, Rana Liaquat, Bilal Asghar Warraich, Syed Hassan Murtaza, and Haider Ali Gilani.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the oath-taking of the cabinet is against the Supreme Court orders because Hamza is not an “elected” chief minister.
“They are making fun of the court orders. They are acting like the Sicilian mafia, which is a matter of concern,” Chaudhary told media in Islamabad.
PML-Q leader Parvez Elahi, who had contested against Hamza Shehbaz for the office of chief minister on Friday, criticised the formation of the Punjab cabinet, saying it was an open violation of the Supreme court’s orders passed during Saturday’s hearing on his petition challenging results of the runoff poll, the Dawn reported.
He said that the oath of the Punjab cabinet was no less than a joke and that the “Trustee” Chief Minister was making a mockery of the Supreme Court order by doling out ministries.
Elahi further said that the swearing-in of the large Punjab cabinet would not be able to save the rulers.
“The court had appointed Hamza as “trustee” chief minister barring him from making any major decision that could benefit him politically,” Elahi said, adding the step warranted contempt of court proceedings against Hamza.
Pakistan Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Hamza Shahbaz to stay as a ‘trustee’ chief minister of Punjab till the court resumes hearing of a plea filed by the PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Monday.
A three-member SC bench comprising Pakistan Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhter issued the verbal order during a hearing on PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi’s petition challenging Punjab Assembly (PA) Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari’s decision on the chief minister’s re-election in Hamza’s favour a day earlier, the Dawn reported.
In its order, the court said that it cannot leave a province without a chief executive and so, “Hamza will continue to work as a trustee chief minister till Monday.”
The court also said Hamza is not allowed to work as per the constitution and law during the time period. Supreme Court directed Hamza Shehbaz to exercise only ceremonial powers while restraining him from exercising the absolute powers of the chief minister till Monday.
“The chief minister, Hamza Shehbaz will not use his powers for political gains,” it stressed.
Meanwhile, Elahi’s lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, requested the court to at least prevent Hamza from forming a cabinet, on which the court said he could form one but it should be as small as possible.
Pakistan SC summoned Mazari on Saturday for citing Article 63A of the Constitution and not counting the votes of defecting lawmakers as well as electing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz as Punjab Chief Minister.
The development comes after Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) filed a petition against Mazari’s ruling to reject 10 PML-Q votes in Punjab Chief Minister’s elections, media reports said.
The Leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) reached Supreme Court (SC) registry in Lahore late at night and submitted a petition against CM Punjab election.
The petition stated that the ruling violated the apex court’s decision with regard to the interpretation of Article 63 A of the Constitution and asked the court to annul the ruling.
Earlier, PML-N’s Shahbaz was re-elected as the chief minister of Punjab after the votes of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) were rejected by the Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker.
On Friday, Pervaiz Elahi – joint candidate of PTI and PML-Q – received 186 votes, while Hamza Shahbaz got 179 votes. However, 10 votes of PML-Q were cancelled by Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, hence taking the figure to 176.
Following the counting of votes, the deputy speaker, citing Article 63A of the Constitution, rejected ten votes cast by the PML-Q members. As a result, Hamza received 179 votes, while Elahi managed to bag 176 votes.
Hamza Shehbaz took oath as Punjab Chief Minister on Saturday.
This is the second time that Hamza defeated Elahi in the contest for the Punjab CM. Back in April, his oath-taking had been delayed for days with the then-governor, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, refusing to administer the oath to him. (ANI)