The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday ordered a recount of the votes of the Punjab Chief Minister election held on April 16. Aaj News reported.
The court also ordered the exclusion of the votes of 25 dissenting deputies during the recount.
On April 16, Hamza was elected CM of Punjab by obtaining a total of 197 votes, including the votes of 25 dissident MPAs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) then overthrew the 25 Punjab Assembly MPs from the PTI, saying they had defected from the party by voting for Hamza.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in August not to count the votes of members of a political party who defected is fully applicable to the election of Chief Minister held on April 14, 2022,” said declared the judgment of the LHC, which issued a 4:1 decision on the matter.
PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz elected chief minister of Punjab
A five-member LHC bench, consisting of Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan, Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, heard appeals from the PTI, PML-Q and Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz. Elahi against decisions regarding election and swearing in of Hamza as Punjab CM.
The LHC said votes in the election should be recounted, excluding the votes of lawmakers who defected. If the majority required for Hamza to become CM – which is 186 votes in the 371-member vault – is not achieved, elections will be held again under Article 130(4), unless another candidate has majority votes. The PML-N seems convinced that Hamza can win if another round of elections takes place.
The court said the detailed verdict of the case would be delivered later.
Addressing the press conference, PTI’s Ali Zafar said Hamza was no longer CM and a new vote would be held.
During the previous hearing, the bench hinted at holding a new election for the Chief Minister of Punjab. Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan had observed that a new ballot would be conducted by the vice president who had held the previous ballot.
PTI has been fighting against Hamza election from the start after the start of Punjab Assembly session for CM election after more than five hours delay and saw Vice President Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari attacked, while PML-Q leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was injured.
The PTI had filed a petition stating that the session held for the conduct of the election had witnessed “tremendous chaos and the most unfortunate events”.
Former Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema had refused to swear in Hamza until it was clear that the election had been conducted in accordance with the Constitution and LHC guidelines. Cheema was later removed from his post.