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LHC issues notices to Hamza, parties on pleas declaring CM election ‘null and void’

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The Lahore High Court issued notices on Friday to the Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shahbaz and others following pleas filed by the Pakistan Tehreek Pakistan (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid(PMLQ) asking the court to declare ‘null and void’ Hamza’s chief ministership.

LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti also sought the reply of counsel for the defendants “as to whether the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the defection of legislators will have a retrospective effect”, referring to the interpretation of Article 63-A by the Supreme Court, regarding the disqualification of PTI lawmakers in which the SC stated that the vote of defying lawmakers would not be counted.

The pleas were filed by the PTI’s legislators, including Speaker of Punjab Assembly Pervez Elahi. Two other separate pleas were also filed- one plea for the removal of Hamza Shahbaz as chief minister and the second for declaring null and void the election of the CM’s slot which took place on April 16 in the Punjab Assembly.

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During the course of the proceedings, Justice Bhatti asked whether the court should consider the measures taken in the past could be declared void. Additional Advocate General Jawad Yaqoob said that the appellants were being heard by the larger bench where they had pleaded that the oath taken by Hamza was against the Constitution, but in the LHC, the petitioners have submitted a plea to oust Hamza from his office.

Barrister Ali Zafar argued that the election for the slot of CM of Punjab was administered after the decision of the Provincial High Court, after which the leader of PML-N was sworn in.

Subsequently, the presidential reference was submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan the top court interpreted Article 63-A and found that the vote of the defying legislators could not be counted,” he added. The court adjourned the hearing for May 25.

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