PTI files intra-court appeal against Hamza Shahbaz's oath-taking

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) challenged on Saturday the Lahore High Court (LHC) single bench’s decision directing the National Assembly speaker to administer oath to Punjab chief minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz Sharif.

The party deemed the decision "beyond the facts of the case" and a "violation of several articles of the Constitution".

A day earlier, LHC’s Justice Jawad Hassan directed the speaker to administer oath to Hamza Shehbaz Sharif at 11:30am today to put an end to the crisis in Punjab. The province had been functioning without a cabinet since the resignation of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar last month.

However, the PTI filed an intra court appeal that led to the LHC constituting a division bench comprising Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

Read Hamza nowhere near taking oath as CM

At least 17 petitioners, including PTI MPA Muhammad Subtain Khan, filed the appeal in the LHC though their advocate, Azhar Siddique.

The petitioners contended that "the high court’s single bench in the absence of any pleadings by any single party to be arrayed as respondents in the writ petition, on the very first day, has reserved judgement".

The PTI appellants stated that such conduct was unprecedented and in sheer deviation from the Constitution.

“These proceedings have created havoc and turmoil,” they argued as a third writ petition was filed on the same cause of action – which has already been decided upon twice in earlier writ petitions.

The petitioners argued that the judicial proceedings of the single bench comprised “rude remarks against constitutional officers such as the Governor of Punjab and the President of Pakistan in the reserved judgment.”

“The haste and the procedure manifest an absence of justice,” they maintained, adding that the matter must be heard by a larger bench comprising not less than seven judges.

The appellants stated that the impugned order passed by the single bench was not “based on facts” and claimed it was in violation of Articles 48, 87, 133, 187, 190, 204, 248 and 255 of the Constitution.

Read more Hamza moves LHC over oath-taking as CM Punjab

"Article 248 of the Constitution provides protection to the president, provincial governors, the prime minister, federal ministers, ministers of state, chief ministers and provincial ministers. It states that the aforementioned shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise of powers and performance of functions of their respective offices or for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions," the petition maintained.

Earlier, LHC’s Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had passed two orders. Initially, the President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi had been directed to nominate someone to administer the oath to CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz.

After the president failed to comply, CJ Bhatti advised the Governor of Punjab Omar Sarfaraz Cheema to ensure administration of the oath, but no constitutional obligation was rendered.

Upon the governor’s failure to ensure his oath administration, Hamza requested the court to “nominate any person” for the oath-taking at the Governor House, "as the coercive arm of the state be set in motion for the implementation of court orders".

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