LAHORE, Pakistan: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday annulled the election of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz as the Chief Minister of Punjab, and ordered the re-election on July 1.
The verdict was announced by a five-member bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.
The bench accepted the petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the election of Hamza Shahbaz as the Punjab Chief Minister.
It also instructed that the votes of 25 dissident PTI lawmakers be excluded from the counting process.
“The decision by August Supreme Court of not counting votes of defecting members of a political party is squarely applicable to the election of Chief Minister held on 14th April 2022,” the judgement said.
The LHC said that Hamza Shahbaz will cease to be the Chief Minister if he loses the required majority after the exclusion of 25 votes by the Presiding Officer.
However, it pointed out that functions performed and powers exercised by Hamza will be “protected under the de facto doctrine” in accordance with the law.
While addressing the media along with other party leaders in Lahore, the Punjab government spokesperson Attaullah Tarar said that Hamza Shahbaz is still Punjab’s Chief Minister and we have a simple majority of 177 votes in the Punjab Assembly while the opposition has 168 members.
Attaullah Tarar said that the Lahore High Court did not annul the previous decision nor it ordered the fresh elections. He said that the Governor Punjab has been directed by the Court to summon the Punjab Assembly Session tomorrow evening.