Friday Dec 23, 2022
Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman denotified Chief Minister Parvez Elahi in the wee hours of Friday, citing a failure to take the vote of confidence from the provincial assembly as the political turmoil in Pakistan's largest province persists.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — a strong ally of Elahi — rejected the governor's notification. PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the notification holds “no legal status” and Elahi also announced approaching the court first thing tomorrow.
"Since CM has refrained from obtaining vote of confidence at the appointed day and time therefore he ceases to hold office. Orders issued this evening," Rehman wrote on his Twitter handle, sharing a copy of the notification.
In the notification, the governor mentioned that despite an order issued for the CM to take a vote of confidence, he did not follow suit. Moreover, Elahi did not take the vote after 24 hours, the notification said.
"I am satisfied that he does not command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly and therefore ceases to hold his office with immediate effect," the notification stated.
The notification also mentioned that the provincial cabinet stands dissolved and the chief minister will continue performing his duties until a new person is elected to office.
Following the governor's instruction, Chief Secretary of Punjab Abdullah Khan Sumbal also notified the dissolution of the provincial cabinet. "Mr Parvez Elahi has ceased to hold office of the Chief Minister Punjab with immediate effect," reads the notification.
Rehman — belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) — had summoned a session on Wednesday at 4 pm for Elahi to take a vote of confidence.
But defying the directives, Speaker of Punjab Assembly Sibtain Khan — a PTI member — had termed the order against the Constitution and adjourned an ongoing session till Friday.
Sibtain said that it is not the governor’s prerogative to give a ministry to someone. He added that the governor cannot summon a new session while one is already in progress in the assembly.
However, the matter did not end there as the governor rejected the speaker's ruling and said that it has "no bearing" on the order to hold a session for the confidence vote.
The PTI snubbed the governor's move, saying it has "no legal status". Fawad reacted to the governor's notification, saying Elahi and the provincial cabinet would continue to work as usual.
A reference will be sent against the governor to President Dr Arif Alvi as part of proceedings to remove him from office, the senior PTI leader tweeted.
PTI Spokesperson on Legal Issues Maleeka Bokhari said PTI is the largest political party in the province and commands the confidence of Punjab's electorate.
"Governor Punjab has with mala fide and in violation of the Constitution issued this order. This is arbitrary and against settled principles of jurisprudence," she added.