Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has told the Supreme Court that it accepts Hamza Shehbaz as the Chief Minister of Punjab till the re-election ordered by the apex court on July 22.
The order was issued by a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail.
The order came a day after the Lahore High Court, in response to a petition filed by the PTI, had ordered the recounting of votes for the election of the Punjab CM held in April, instructing that the votes of the 25 defecting PTI members should not be counted.
It had additionally ordered the Punjab Assembly to convene today and conduct re-counting and if necessary, re-elections today (Friday) by 4 PM. However the PTI had challenged the decision, calling it ‘flawed’, and took it up with the Supreme Court, requesting the proceedings be moved forward by seven days on account of its MPAs being out of the country for Umrah.
While Justice Ahsan agreed that elections couldn’t be held today, he rejected the PTI’s appeal to move them forward by seven days. Justice Ahsan also said that the argument to hold re-elections after the Punjab by-elections have taken place on July 17 held weightage.
When PTI lawyer Imtiaz Siddiqui remarked that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had not yet notified lawmakers on the reserved seats in the PA, Justice Ahsan said, “The world will not end if they are not notified.”
He then summoned Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and adjourned the hearing till 4 PM.
Appearing before the top court via a video link after they were summoned, Hamza Shehbaz and Pervaiz Elahi were presented with two options by the Supreme Court, at which point Elahi consented to accepting Hamza Shehbaz as the Punjab CM until the re-elections on July 22.
Justice Ahsan stated that the two parties should stop complicating the matter, adding that they were not here to create a constitutional crisis.