PML-N orders removal of PTI’s Cheema as Punjab governor
Published1 year ago
The federal government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz has removed Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema from his position, hours after he refused to administer the oath to Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.
The prime minister has used his discretionary powers to remove Cheema, who has been told to leave the governor house immediately, it said.
The prime minister has sent a summary to the president.
Cheema had replaced Chaudhry Sarwar only two weeks ago after PTI chief Imran Khan removed Sarwar for his decision to call Punjab Assembly session on April 5 for the election of new chief minister.
As the report of his removal surfaced, Cheema addressed an emergency press conference and questioned the election of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif calling it “controversial.”
Cheema also called Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari, who was presiding over the vote under court orders, “partisan” and a turncoat for allowing the proceedings to go ahead amid uproar.
Apparently ignoring the federal government decision to remove him, Cheema said that based on the report from the secretary Punjab Assembly he has written to advocate general and Speaker Pervaiz Elahi — who as contesting against Hamza — and will not endorse any “unconstitutional” step at any cost.
He said that he would not start the proceedings to administer the oath unless he is satisfied that the election was conducted as per the constitution and court order.
When reporters told Cheema that the PM had decided to remove him, the Punjab governor said that the PM did not have the power to remove him and can only send a summary to the president, who then issues order for the removal of a governor.
Cheema said until the president issues the order he would stay as governor.
At the press conference, Cheema repeatedly called him “a political worker” with 26 years in politics.
He said Hamza Shehbaz was too impatient to be elected as chief minister.
The governor also said that there were plans to carve out PML-S faction under Shehbaz Sharif from PML-N and apparently such plans have been executed successfully.
He said he has postponed the oath taking ceremony.
Hamza Shehbaz Sharif was to take oath on Sunday and a team from the chief minister-elect had arrived at the governor house, but after the governor’s press conference the PML-N team left the venue.
Other options for oath
The reports that Cheema may refuse to administer an oath to the CM-elect surfaced only hours after Punjab Assembly elected Hamza with 197 votes on Saturday in a session that was marred by violence and eventual boycott from the PML-Q and PTI.
President Arif Alvi, earlier, did not administer oath to Shehbaz Sharif saying that he was unwell. The oath was administered by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
In Punjab, situation is more complicated. The rules say that in governor’s absence or refusal, the oath could be administered by the Punjab Assembly speaker. However, in Hamza’s case the speaker is Elahi, his rival.
Rules say that upon speaker’s refusal, the issue could be referred to the president, who could nominate any competent authority, especially Lahore High Court chief justice, to administer the oath.
Again in Hamza’s case, the president is a PTI leader Arif Alvi, who will not likely readily offer a solution.
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