Saturday May 21, 2022
ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Saturday reiterated that Governor Punjab Omar Sarfraz Cheema still holds the office, urging Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider his advice about the appointment of the new governor as there is no occasion to propose a new appointment.
In response to the premier’s summary about appointing a new governor, the president reiterated that "the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President”, as envisaged by Article 101 (2) of the Constitution.
According to a statement issued by the President's Secretariat, the president added that the present circumstances demanded that the incumbent governor should continue to hold that position.
The president also referred to governor Punjab's letter, dated April 23, 2022, and a report, dated May 4, 2022, in which it had been highlighted that the change in loyalties of the members of the Punjab Assembly, during the election of the chief minister of Punjab, and cobbling of the majority by illegal means had generated serious governance issues in the province as well as violated the Article 63(A) of the Constitution.
“The principled stand of the governor had been vindicated by the recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on May 17, 2022, on Reference No 1 of 2022, moved by the president of Pakistan,” the statement read.
He underscored that the stance of the Cheema was further augmented by the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on May 20, 2022, declaring the defection and changing loyalties of the 25 Members of Provincial Assembly Punjab (MPAs) in the election of the chief minister, Punjab as the “worst form of betraying the electorate and party’s policy”.
He maintained that the 25 defecting MPAs had ceased to be members of the Punjab Assembly, as per ECP’s decision.
Meanwhile, sources further told Geo News that the premier has responded to the president’s letter, asserting that Baligh Ur Rehman will be the governor of Punjab.
According to sources, if the president does not respond within 10 days, Rehman will take oath as governor of Punjab as the summary has been sent to the president for the second time.
On May 9, President Alvi strongly rejected PM Shehbaz Sharif's advice to remove Governor Punjab Omar Sarfaraz Cheema from office.
According to a statement from the President's Secretariat, President Alvi conveyed to the prime minister that the Punjab governor cannot be removed without his approval.
"Referring to clause 3 of Article 101 of the Constitution, he had stated that 'the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President'," the statement read.
The governor had triggered a constitutional crisis after he was refused to administer the oath to Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz.
Meanwhile, in the statement, the president said that the incumbent governor could not be removed as there was neither any allegation of misconduct nor conviction by any court of law or of any act committed by him contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan.
"It [is my] duty as Head of the State to represent the unity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in terms of Article 41 of the Constitution," the president told the premier.
Giving another reason for rejecting the prime minister's advice, he stated that he was convinced that the removal of the governor would be "unfair and against the norms of justice."