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SC announces re-election for Punjab CM on July 22

Pervaiz Elahi and Hamza Shehbaz welcome the SC's verdict




SC announces re-election for Punjab CM on July 22
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: The re-election for the Punjab chief minister’s slot would be held on July 22 after the provincial government, PTI, and PML-Q reached a consensus on the matter, the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced Friday.

The PTI had filed a plea in the top court seeking the annulment of the Lahore High Court's (LHC) decision that had ordered the governor to hold the re-count for the Punjab CM's slot today at 4pm.

During today's hearing, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi -- a contender for the CM's slot -- had initially agreed that Hamza Shahbaz could remain the chief minister till July 17, but the PTI disagreed.

In a bid to break the deadlock, the top court directed Elahi to speak to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and come up with a solution — as it adjourned the hearing for the third time.

After the hearing resumed, all the parties agreed that Hamza would remain the chief minister till the re-election — July 22. 

In a 4-1 split decision a day earlier, the LHC had wrapped up PTI's case against Hamza's election to the CM's slot, while ordering a recount of the votes cast during the Punjab chief executive's election but with the exclusion of 25 PTI dissidents' votes, in line with the apex court's interpretation of Article 63(A).

But in its bid to remove Hamza from the post of Punjab chief minister, PTI had earlier in the day approached the SC to challenge the orders of the LHC to hold a vote recount on the CM poll — which was held on April 16.

The SC accepted the plea for an immediate hearing and formed a three-member bench. The hearing was headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail were part of the bench, too.

-- Pervaiz Elahi welcomes decision -- 

PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi welcomed the Supreme Court's verdict on the Punjab chief minister election -- which will now be held on July 22 -- saying that "all our demands have been accepted today", while CM Hamza Shehbaz accepted the decision "with an open heart".

 "A good decision has been taken today in which all our demands have been met. "Even the chief justice appreciated that a consensus was reached amicably," he remarked.

He said Hamza Shahbaz also said no political interference and police would be used and that the house would be completed by July 22,

Elahi said the session for the election of the Chief Minister would be held in the Assembly building, adding the environment created inside the court should be maintained outside the court as well.

PTI parliamentary leader Mian Mahmood-ur-Rasheed said the judiciary had paved the way for clean and transparent elections and hoped that by-elections would be held in a transparent manner.

-- Hamza Shehbaz's reaction --

Punjab CM Hamza Shahbaz told the media that on July 17 the people would cast vote in the by-polls in favour of whoever they want in government.

Commenting on the developments in Punjab, the CM said in the last three months several constitutional crises were witnessed which can place the province at number one in the Guinness Book of World Records.