The federal government issued a notification for the dismissal of the Governor of Punjab, Omer Sarfraz Cheema, as the constitutional period for forwarding the summary to the President to this effect ended, following the Cabinet Division’s notice.
The notification was made when President Arif Alvi “strongly rejected” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice to sack Cheema, saying that, under Article 3 of Article 101 of the Constitution, “the Governor shall perform his duties at the pleasure of the President”.
The federal government had forwarded a summary of Governor Cheema’s dismissal to the President on 17 April. According to the Constitution, the summary would automatically decide without any ruling by the President after the prescribed period.
Following the end of the summary’s constitutional period, the Cabinet Division issued the notification. According to the statement, the term of office of Omar Cheema as governor comes to an end on Tuesday (today). Sources said Cheema would be barred from entering Governor House.
“In terms of Article 101 and Proviso to Article 48 (1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with serial No 2D of Schedule V-B to the Rules of Business, 1973 and the Prime Minister’s advice(s) rendered on 17-04-2022 and 01-05-2022 for removal of the governor of Punjab, Omer Sarfraz Cheema ceases to hold the office of the Punjab governor, with immediate effect,” according to the Cabinet Division notification.
“The speaker of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab shall perform the functions of Punjab governor as acting governor till the appointment of a new governor, in accordance with Article 104 of the Constitution,” it added.
Until the new governor’s appointment in Punjab, the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, would be acting governor.
Earlier on Monday, President Alvi “strongly rejected” Prime Minister Shehbaz’s advice to revoke Governor Cheema because the governor could not be revoked without his approval, a decision.
According to an official statement, President Alvi had informed the Prime Minister that the Punjab governor could not be dismissed without his approval.
Alvi wrote that the governor “cannot be sacked” because there was no allegation of wrongdoing or conviction by a court or any act that contravenes the Constitution.
Alvi emphasized the constitutional role of the Punjab governor, saying that Cheema had sent a report earlier about the unfortunate events in the Punjab Assembly, issues relating to the validity of Usman Buzdar’s resignation as Chief Minister and the change in loyalty.
Rejecting the Prime Minister’s advice, Alvi said he was convinced that removing the governor would be unfair and inconsistent with the standards of justice.
He stressed that it was essential that the current governor remain to foster and promote a healthy and clean democratic system when members were not compelled or purchased to make an illegitimate amendment. Article 63-A of the Constitution specifically discouraged these activities.
The President emphasized that “he was determined to abide by the provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan in these difficult times and firmly rejected the advice of the Prime Minister to dismiss the Governor of Punjab”.
Some legal and political experts say the President’s decision not to accept the premier’s summary of Cheema’s dismissal was a deliberate attempt to create a constitutional crisis. The President was required to act under the advice of the cabinet and the prime minister.