The Lahore High Court (LHC) has rejected a plea for early elections in the Punjab Assembly, filed by PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz, who is one of the hopefuls for Chief Minister of the province. Instead, the LHC called upon the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly to conduct elections for the Chief Minister of Punjab on 16 April.
In this decision, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti restored the powers of the deputy speaker so as to hold elections for chief minister of the province. He also directed that all measures be taken to ensure timely elections in the assembly, including that repair work be completed before 11am on the day of the polling.
Ever since the resignation of former CM Usman Buzdar from the then ruling party PTI, the chief minister’s position has been vacant since the beginning of this month on the 1st of April. Contending against the PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz, the candidate of the PTI for chief minister is Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi from the PML-Q.
The PTI had filed a no-confidence motion against its own provincial Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari after he convened polls for CM on the 6th of April, much earlier than the set date, while the opposition filed the same against Speaker Pervaiz Elahi. Deputy Speaker Mazari had stated that the Punjab Assembly secretariat was “not cooperating” with him. After the Punjab Assembly was sealed using barbed wire and the main entrance locked, opposition lawmakers had convened that very day at Faletti’s Hotel in Lahore, ‘electing’ Hamza Shehbaz from the PML-N as Chief Minister of Punjab in a symbolic move.