President Arif Alvi has ‘strongly’ rejected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice to remove Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema and appoint Baligh-ur-Rehman as the new governor.
“It is my duty as Head of the State to represent the unity of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in terms of Article 41 of the Constitution,” the president told the premier.
Earlier, on April 17, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has sent a summary notice to the president, advising him to remove the governor of Punjab on account of his interference with the continuance of political administration in Punjab as evidenced by his refusal to administer the oath to Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.
Upon the president not responding within the Constitution-mandated 15 days, the prime minister sent him another notice, recommending the appointment of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) loyalist Balighur Rehman instead.
The president responded by rejecting the summary notice, saying that the Punjab governor cannot be removed without his approval. “Referring to clause 3 of Article 101 of the Constitution, he stated that ‘the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President’,” a statement issued by the President’s secretariat read.
In the statement, the president had also said that the Governor Cheema could not be removed as there was neither any allegation of misconduct, nor conviction by any court of law of any unconstitutional act committed by him.
He added that he was convinced that the removal of the governor would be an unfair move, against the norms of justice.
“The president emphasised that it was essential that the incumbent governor should continue to stay to encourage and promote a healthy and clean democratic system where members are not coerced or bought to bring about an illegitimate change and Article 63A of the Constitution specifically discouraged such activities,” the press release added.