LHC reserves verdict on Punjab CM election session

Islamabad, April 12 : The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday reserved its decision on the petition which sought its intervention over the election of the Punjab chief minister as the PML-N, PML-Q, and Punjab Assembly secretariat could not decide on a “neutral” person to chair the session to elect the CM, Express Tribune reported. LHC CJ Ameer Bhatti had on Monday instructed all the political parties to decide on which course of action they would be adopting to elect the provinces the CM’s in order to break the deadlock. During the proceedings, the LHC CJ asked the political parties as to who will be presiding over the assembly session since Speaker Pervaiz Elahi was himself a nominee for the CM seat. In this regard he observed that as per the assembly rules, Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari is supposed to chair the session. But this was opposed by the counsel for the PML-Q on grounds that a no-confidence motion had been notified against Mazari, adding that the deputy speaker moved the LHC, thus becoming a party to the case, which made him further controversial. Speaker Elahi’s counsel said the matter in the assembly was beyond the jurisdiction of the court and therefore should be resolved as per the rules of the Punjab Assembly, further adding that the summoning of the house, its adjournment, and withdrawal did not concern the court as it was only a procedural issue, not a constitutional one. The counsels for the PML-Q, PA Secretariat, and the PA speaker failed reach a compromise over a new date for the session with the PML-N. But they assured the court that the session to elect the CM will in all likely hood take place on April 16. PML-N counselapprised the bench that the Constitution did not stop the deputy speaker from presiding the house as he referred to the NA speaker chairing the session to elect the PM despite a no-confidence motion against him. According to the counsels representing the PML-Q, PA Secretariat, and Elahi, the powers of Speaker Elahi would be delegated to the deputy speaker on the day of the election but as the deputy speaker was “controversial” at this point so a lawmaker from the four-member panel of chairman will preside over the session. To which PML-N lawyer objected, saying the PTI lawmaker Mian Shafi, the member of the panel of chairman, was not acceptable to the PML-N just like the deputy speaker was not acceptable to the PML-Q. The high court asked for more suggestions. The PML-N counsel suggested that an independent candidate could chair the session as they did not belong to any party, which was rejected as well. The court after hearing detailed arguments reserved the decision. ACL1821

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