Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti ordered Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema to ensure the oath taking of Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz is completed by tomorrow (Thursday).
The CJ announced that the administering of oath to Shahbaz, who was appointed the Punjab chief minister on April 16th, should be carried out immediately, whether by Governor Cheema himself or a through a nominee, no later than April 28th. The oath-taking has faced delays twice thus far, based on objections by the governor.
The decision was announced in an open court held for a petition filed by Hamza Shahbaz seeking the LHC’s assistance regarding the delay in oath administration. The 3-page long verdict issued by the court revealed that the Constitution of Pakistan called for prompt formation of governments, and as such, expeditious administration was mandatory.
Justice Bhatti also mentioned that the Punjab government had been without a functional government for the past 25 days, since former CM Usman Buzdar’s resignation. He also noted that a number of excuses were being used to delay the oath further, which was inappropriate and unconstitutional.
The court also instructed President Arif Alvi to assist in the administration of oath to Hamza Shahbaz, as per his Constitutional role.
Hamza Shahbaz’s oath was delayed repeatedly by the Punjab governor who is from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the erstwhile ruling party of the province. The PML-N leadership then called on the court to take action against this delay.