ISLAMABAD, July 1: Special Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail has declared that the election of new chief minister Punjab will be held on 22nd July after the bye-election on 20 constituencies of Punjab going to be held on 17th July. The court has declared that Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif will continue as chief minister Punjab till 22nd July. The court has declared that the run of election of chief minister Punjab will be held on 22nd July and the candidate having majority of the MPAs present in the assembly on that day will be elected new chief minister Punjab. The court will issue the written order later on. The hearing of the case was started at 1:30 PM and ended at nearly 6:00 PM. The court adjourned hearing on the petitions four times in nearly four hours long hearing.
Supreme Court heard the petitions field by Mohammad Sibtain Khan and others v. Province of Punjab through its Chief Secretary, Lahore and others. Dr. Babar Awan, Imtiaz Rashid Siddiqui, Amir Saeed, Faisal Fareed Hussain and Muhammad Ali Bokhari appeared on behalf of Muhammad Sabtain Kahn, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and others. Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Parvez Elahi appeared at Supreme Court Lahore Registry on summons of the special bench. The PTI had filed a plea in the top court seeking the annulment of Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision that had ordered the governor to hold the elections for the Punjab CM’s slot today at 4pm.
During Friday’s hearing, after much back and forth, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi – a contender for the CM’s slot – had initially agreed that Hamza Shahbaz could remain the chief minister till July 17, but the PTI disagreed.
In a bid to break the deadlock, the top court directed Elahi to speak to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and come up with a solution – as it adjourned the hearing for the third time.
After the hearing resumed, all the parties agreed that Hamza Shehbaz would remain the chief minister till July 17.
In a 4-1 split decision a day earlier, the LHC wrapped up PTI’s case against Hamza’s election to the CM’s slot, while ordering to recount of the votes cast during the Punjab chief executive’s election but with the exclusion of 25 PTI dissidents’ votes, in line with the apex court’s interpretation of Article 63(A).
But in its bid to remove Hamza from the post of Punjab chief minister, PTI had earlier in the day approached the SC to challenge the orders of the LHC to hold a vote recount on the CM poll – which was held on April 16.
The SC accepted the plea for an immediate hearing earlier in the day and formed a three-member special bench.
At the outset of the hearing, PTI leader Babar Awan appeared before the court while PTI’s counsel attended the hearing through video link. – SABAH