Parvez Elahi will cease to be CM if he fails to take trust vote today: former SHC judge

Justice (retd) Shaiq Usmani says Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan’s understanding of laws is incorrect

Ali Raza
Web Desk
Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. —APP
Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. —APP

  • Constitutional experts split over Punjab PA speaker’s ruling
  • Punjab CM has been asked to take vote of confidence today.
  • Speaker Sibtain Khan has adjourned session till Friday.

Former Sindh High Court chief justice Shaiq Usmani Tuesday said that Parvez Elahi would cease to be chief minister if he fails to secure the vote of trust from the Punjab Assembly as asked by Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman.

On Monday last, the governor asked the chief minister to take a vote of confidence from the house, while the PML-N and its allies moved motions of no confidence against the CM, the speaker and the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly.

However, Speaker Sibtain set aside Governor Rehman’s order and adjourned the ongoing session till Friday, sparking a debate over the speaker’s authority to overrule the summary asking CM Elahi to take the vote.

Speaking to Geo News, the former judge said the speaker’s understanding of relevant laws is wrong that the rules of the assembly are above the Constitution, there is no law above the Constitution.

He said that the governor has asked the chief minister to take a vote of confidence under the Constitution.

“If the governor has decided to ask the chief minister to take a vote of confidence, then there should be no obstacle.”

When asked to comment if Parvez Elahi does not take the vote of confidence, he said that in that case, he will cease to be the chief minister.

Meanwhile, Azhar Siddique, a renowned legal expert, said according to the Constitution the governor has to call a special session for the vote of confidence during which no other business could be taken up in the house.

“As a first step the governor would have to prorogue the ongoing 41st session of the assembly, which he himself summoned and then summon the special session for the vote of confidence,” he told The News.

Talking about the speaker’s ruling over the order of the governor, he said Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain didn’t challenge the powers of the governor but simply raised the issue of the legality of the ongoing session.

“Secondly, the governor should have a valid reason to ask for a vote of confidence and in the present scenario, the governor’s reasons are not co-related with a valid reason,” he said.

Thirdly, he said, the governor should have given a reasonable time for taking a vote of confidence and 48 hours were not considered a reasonable time.

Another prominent lawyer Ali Zafar was also of the same viewpoint and said that there was no doubt that the governor is empowered to ask the chief minister for taking a vote of confidence from the house but the speaker can also continue the session and ask the governor to call a special session for a vote of confidence.

He said in the present scenario on one side the governor has asked the CM for a vote of confidence when the PML-N has submitted a motion of no confidence against Parvez Elahi.

“According to the constitution, priority will be given to the vote of no confidence and it should be tabled in the house first,” he said and maintained that if the chief minister survives the no-confidence then the governor can call a special session asking the CM to get a vote of confidence.

Former secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Kanwar Dilshad said as per Article 130 of the Constitution, the governor was empowered to ask the CM to take a vote of confidence.

He was of the view that procedures of the assembly fall under Article 130 and the speaker cannot pass any ruling when the vote of no-confidence was moved.

“If CM does not come as per schedule, the governor can de-notify and the office of the chief minister ceases,” he concluded.