LHC asks president to appoint representative for Hamza oath-taking

DailyTimes  |  Apr 22, 2022

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday asked the President of Pakistan to appoint a representative for oath taking of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.

LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti passed the short order on a petition, filed by Hamza Shehbaz. Advocate General Punjab (AGP) Ahmad Owais appeared before the court at the start of the proceedings. He submitted that he met the Punjab governor as per court orders who said he wanted to put his objections before the court. He submitted that besides the Punjab governor, the speaker could also administer oath, but Hamza Shehbaz did not asked him for it.However, the chief justice questioned whether the governor had given any reason for refusal to administer the oath. The chief justice asked the AGP to contact the governor and ask him why he did not want to administer the oath, while adjourning hearing for a short time period. Later, as the proceedings resumed, the AGP submitted that the governor considered that the election of the chief minister was not held as per law and Constitution.

He argued that the governor was not a rubber stamp or post office. The governor had taken oath and he must act in accordance with the Constitution, the AGP submitted, adding that he wanted to file a detailed reply in the matter. At this, the chief justice observed that it was an important matter and he should have appeared with complete preparation.

He observed there was no government in Punjab for last 21 days and questioned that what governor was doing. While rejecting the AGP plea for adjournment, the chief justice noted that the governor must give his reply. The chief justice observed that the governor must inform the court, adding that if he did not want to administer the oath, then the law would decide its own course. The AGP submitted that he had spoken to the governor and he was writing to the president about reasons for not administering the oath.At this stage, the chief justice expressed annoyance and observed that there was no government in Punjab for the past 21 days whereas the governor was not administering oath for past five days. To whom the court should ask, the LHC CJ added. The chief justice questioned when the governor would write to the president. Ahmad Owais stated that he could not give any time-frame.

The court expressed the hope that the governor would write today. The chief justice addressed the AGP and observed that he was giving time to governor till 2 p.m. It is okay if the governor took the decision; otherwise, the court would decide its own course. Later, as proceedings resumed, the court announced its verdict after no decision was made by the governor. The court directed the president to appoint a representative for oath taking of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.

Hamza Shehbaz had approached the court for oath taking as Punjab chief minister. He submitted that he had been elected as Punjab chief minister in an assembly session held on April 16 and he secured 197 votes.

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