In its much-awaited verdict, Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered the recounting of votes for the election of the Punjab Chief Minister held in April, instructing that the votes of the 25 defecting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members should not be counted.
A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and comprising Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh announced the verdict with a 4-1 majority, with Justice Sethi raising objections. The bench disposed Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) pleas.
The LHC instructed in a short order issued after the hearing that the votes for the election of the Punjab CM that was held on April 16 should be recounted, excluding the votes of the 25 PTI dissidents. The court stated that if after the recount Hamza fails to secure the votes required to retain a majority, then as per Article 130(4), elections will be held again, unless another candidate has a clear majority.
The court said that Hamza Shehbaz’s election will be annulled and he will cease to be the chief minister if he loses the required majority after the exclusion of 25 votes by the presiding officer.
A Punjab Assembly session will be held on July 1 (tomorrow) at 4 PM for the purposes of recounting votes and if required, re-election. The governor shall preform his duty, under Article 130(5), of administering oath without any hesitation, at any time before 11am the very next day, it directed.