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Governor asks army to end political crisis in Punjab

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Punjab’s governor asks the army to end the political crisis in the province.

Despite the repeated refusal of the armed forces to be dragged into the country’s perpetual political mess, the governor of Punjab, Omar Sarfraz Cheema, called on the army to intervene to get the province out of the crises that have plagued it for months.

He also decided to refer Lahore High Court judge Jawad Hassan to the Supreme Judicial Council (CJS) for an “unlawful decision” to request the Speaker of the National Assembly to swear an oath to the then-elected minister, Hamza Shehbaz.

Yesterday, the governor wrote a letter to General Qamar Javed Bajwa, calling on him to play a decisive role in the current uncertain circumstances, as he believed that the constitutional crisis in Punjab had been taken, hostage.

With the letter, the governor also enclosed the separate letters he wrote to the president and the prime minister—the latter sent just before writing to General Bajwa.

“These two letters encompass my real anxiety and dilemmas about the constitutional deadlock facing this country, in particular the province of Punjab,” he wrote.

In his letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Governor of Punjab accused Hamza of having taken advantage of being the premier’s son to be elected as a CM.

He accused the Punjab bureaucracy of extending full support in the CM election on 16 April to secure Hamza’s election, and reproached the prime minister for holding the highest office with an “unconstitutional exercise”.

Mr. Cheema urged the chief of the army to contribute to the restoration of the constitutional framework by re-establishing the confidence of the people, that are honest, fair, and trustworthy through the federal and provincial governments in Pakistan.

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The governor has already voiced concern over his statement that the oath taken to Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister, the notification, and the de-notification of the former CM Usman Buzdar, was unlawful.

He alleged that Hamza, using the powers of his father Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister, even held Governor House hostage to hold the swearing-in ceremony on April 30. The governor claimed that even he was prohibited from entering the premises that day.

Condemning the alleged desecration of the law and the Constitution in a string of tweets, Mr. Cheema finally tweeted, “If the COAS gives me a subedar and four army jawans, I pledge to have the unconstitutional, illegal and bogus Chief Minister (Hamza Shehbaz) arrested and sent to prison.”

In previous tweets, he wrote that he had clarified in his statement the type of intervention he was waiting for and what was required. “I would have reached out to the public if I wasn’t the governor,” he said.

He added that the province, confronted with a constitutional and legal crisis, had been “taken hostage by force” and described the silence of political parties as “very worrying”.

He warned that if all provinces had agreed to the “Hamza Shehbaz formula” to become the chief minister, the other provinces would have to worry for themselves.

Mr. Cheema stated that he had always asked for a “neutral umpire” during his 26-year political career, saying “neutral umpire” provides a fair playing field for all parties, otherwise it would not be known as “neutral” and the game would not be fair.

Now that the governor has been adamant that the Constitution has been tainted by political events throughout April, on Eidul Fitr’s first day on Tuesday, he tweeted that he had sent an Eid gift to the governing coalition leaders.

“I sent the Pakistan Constitution to political leaders as an Eid gift who make senseless statements or express their anguish without reading the document.”

Posting tweet after tweet on all three days of Eid, he promised the nation that he would continue to fight against the “Sicilian mafia” and soon get the bureaus freed by the “illegal and unconstitutional” chief minister of Punjab.

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