Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson and former prime minister Imran Khan has urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the ‘blatant violation of the Constitution’, after Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema was removed following a late-night notice from the cabinet division.
On Monday, President Arif Alvi issued a statement ‘strongly rejecting’ the advice of the prime minister regarding the removal and subsequent replacement of PTI’s Omar Cheema with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Baligh-ur-Rehman.
Immediately after, the Cabinet Division of the federal government issued a notification announcing the removal of Omar Cheema as the governor of Punjab.
The statement quoted Articles 101 and 48 (1) and said that in light of the aforementioned articles, as well as the prime minister’s summary notices sent twice to President Arif Alvi, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema ceases to hold the office of the governor of Punjab, with immediate effect.
It also said that the Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab shall take over as Acting Governor, until a new governor is appointed by the government.
Imran Khan termed the act as an embarrassing attempt to remove the governor simply because he was trying to protect the Constitution.
“Imported puppets are stirring up constitutional anarchy and chaos in Punjab,” he said. “First, a criminal puppet was imposed on the province as a chief minister through a ghost election. Now, keeping all constitutional requirements aside, the office of the president has been insulted.”
He said that this ‘blatant violation of the Constitution and the law of Punjab’ was being watched in silence, and therefore the Supreme Court must take suo motu action immediately.
Omar Sarfaraz Cheema has also said that he is consulting constitutional experts to help him decide what course of action to take next.
Previously, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had warned that dismissing the prime minister’s advice could be considered unconstitutional. After Cheema’s removal, Sanaullah in a series of tweets stated that in a parliamentary democracy, the president does not have any ‘inherent’ or ‘residual’ powers.