Home Latest News Parvez Elahi Refuses to Accept Charge of Acting Punjab Governor

Parvez Elahi Refuses to Accept Charge of Acting Punjab Governor

PMLQ leader says he will continue to carry out his duties as Punjab Assembly speaker in accordance with Constitution and law

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi on Tuesday refused to take charge of acting governor after the federal government issued a notification removing Omar Sarfaraz Cheema from the post.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has already sent a summary to President Arif Alvi recommending the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)’s Balighur Rehman for the next governor. However, the president’s unwillingness to act on the premier’s advice—as evidenced from his refusal to dismiss Cheema—likely means that Rehman will be unable to take charge until the constitutionally mandated 10 days for consideration have passed. Legal experts say this means Punjab would likely have no governor before next week.

The delays have left Pakistan’s most populous province without a functional government since March, when former chief minister Usman Buzdar’s resignation was accepted by then-governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar. Without a governor, new Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz is unable to form a new cabinet, as there is no legal authority to administer it oath of office, provoking a weeks-long constitutional crisis.

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), Elahi had consulted constitutional experts before deciding against assuming the charge of governor. He also called sacked governor Cheema and expressed solidarity with him. “We will continue to uphold the Constitution and law and resist all of the government’s unconstitutional actions,” he reportedly told PTI’s Cheema. “The government has set up a factory of unconstitutional measures, but I will carry out my duties in accordance with the Constitution and law,” he added.

Elahi, along with deputy speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, are both facing no-confidence votes whenever the Punjab Assembly next convenes. The motion against the PMLQ leader was moved by members of the PMLN, while the one against Mazari was moved by the PTI.

Sources have claimed that Elahi’s decision is partially motivated by his party’s refusal to accept Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister, noting that his acceptance of the acting governorship would be tantamount to accepting both the chief minister’s election and the sacking of Cheema.

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