Governor refuses to administer oath to Punjab cabinet

Cheema says he can’t endorse anything beyond the ambit of constitution


Our Correspondent May 01, 2022
Omer Sarfraz Cheema. Photo: PTI Facebook page

LAHORE:

Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema has decided not to administer oath to the newly-constituted provincial cabinet as he “cannot endorse anything beyond the ambit of constitution as neither the election of the chief minister nor his oath-taking and cabinet were constitutional”.

Addressing a press conference in the provincial capital on Sunday, Cheema said, “Yesterday, a crime was committed at Governor House. My official residence was held under siege to hold the illegal oath-taking ceremony of a ‘fake’ chief minister.”

As per the constitution, he highlighted, the resignation of Sardar Usman Buzdar as the chief executive of the province was illegal.

The resignation was addressed to the prime minister instead of governor, he highlighted.

Former governor could not accept the resignation which was not addressed to him, he added.

“The oath-taking of Hamza Shahbaz was illegal after I rejected the resignation of Usman Buzdar on legal grounds,” he maintained.

He asked how could Hamza’s cabinet be legitimate when his election and oath-taking were illegal.

He said that the formation of the provincial cabinet has raised questions. “The PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) lawmakers violated the constitution so I have refused to take oath from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son despite a court suggestion; I cannot endorse anything beyond the ambit of the constitution,” he underscored.

Also read: Punjab governor dismisses Buzdar's resignation

Cheema, on Saturday, dismissed former chief minister Buzdar’s resignation – hours before PML-N leader Hamza was to be sworn in as the new chief minister – after which the former chief executive of the province immediately summoned a cabinet meeting at the Punjab Assembly.

The governor also wrote a letter to Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and stated that Buzdar’s resignation was dismissed on the basis of certain constitutional loopholes.

Cheema indicated that the court had not directed the federal government to hold oath-taking ceremony at the Governor’s House.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz once again sent a summary for Cheema’s removal to President Dr Arif Alvi.

After the second summary, the governor has 10 days left in office, after which he will be automatically removed from office as per the law. However, the same could not be done with the previous summary despite the law being clear about the matter.

As the controversy around Hamza’s election and oath-taking lingered on, the government tried to remove Cheema from office. The governor, however, said that the prime minister did not have the power to remove him, rather it was the president’s prerogative to appoint and dismiss governors. He added that the premier could only send him a summary in this regard. The president had previously allowed Cheema to continue his duties until a decision could be reached on the matter.

So, while Cheema continued to refuse the oath of office to Hamza, the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to administer oath to him.

It is also worth noting here that the federal government is currently considering filing a treason case against Cheema, President Alvi, former prime minister Imran Khan, and former NA deputy speaker Qasim Suri for allegedly violating the constitution.

 

 

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