LAHORE: Going ahead with its plans to expel the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the Punjab government, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday advised Governor Sardar Latif Khosa to remove provincial ministers belonging to the PPP.
At the same time, the chief minister also sacked 13 parliamentary secretaries belonging to its erstwhile coalition partner in the provincial government, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the chief minister has sent the summary for the removal of the PPP ministers.
Interestingly, however, the governor’s spokesperson, Ishtiaq Ahmad, said that the Governor Secretariat has received the summary from the chief minister for the removal of all 16 ministers – nine from the PML-N and seven from the PPP.
The summary was sent by the chief minister under sub Article 3 of Article 132 of the 1973 Constitution.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was in a fix over the procedure of getting rid of the PPP ministers. It had two options: either dissolve the cabinet or de-notify the PPP ministers. Since both options involved legal complexities, the chief minister decided to adopt a comparatively safer procedure. If Governor Khosa entertains the CM’s advice, the services and general administration department would issue the de-notification of the ministers. Khosa has said that he would act according to Article 105 of the Constitution.
According to Article 105, the governor shall have to respond to the chief minister’s advice within 15 days or he may refer the case back to the chief minister for reconsideration.
However, after the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment, if a provincial governor does not respond to a chief minister’s advice within the stipulated time, it is considered approved.
The PPP ministers have refused to step down voluntarily, saying that they would wait for the chief minister to de-notify them.
Muhammad Ashraf Sohna, provincial minister for labour and human rights, said that the PPP ministers would devise a strategy once they get their de-notification letters. For this purpose, a meeting of PPP’s parliamentary party in Punjab has been convened on March 1.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the PPP and the PML-N are engaged in negotiation to find an amicable solution to the issue to avert a possible political confrontation in the province.
A give-and-take solution is under consideration. Accordingly, the PPP would stop Governor Khosa from exercising his powers under Sub Article 7 of Article 130 which empowers him to demand a vote of confidence from the chief minister. In return, the PML-N would support the PPP-led coalition government in the centre in the passage of the Money Bill and would also not table a no-trust motion against the prime minister.
If the deal materialises, Governor Khosa would not demand a fresh vote of confidence from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and would also administer oath of office to the new provincial ministers from the PML-Q’s Unification Bloc’.
The PPP’s ministers to be removed or de-notified are: Raja Riaz, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Neelam Jabbar Chaudhry, Muhammad Ashraf Khan Sohna, Farooq Yousaf Ghurki, Haji Muhammad Ishaq and Tanvir-ul-Islam.
Meanwhile, a notification issued by the provincial law department said that the chief minister, while exercising his powers under Section 3 of the Punjab Parliamentary Secretaries (Salary, Allowances and Privileges) Ordinance, 2002 (LXXI of 2002), has sacked 13 parliamentary secretaries, belonging to the PPP. Advisers, special assistants and parliamentary secretaries are not part of the cabinet.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2011.
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