SC accepted all our demands: Elahi

PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi on Friday said “all their demands had been accepted” by the top court — which announced that the election for the province’s chief minister would be held on July 22 – while Hama Shehbaz, the incumbent chief executive of the province, insisted that he still had the numbers to pull it off again.

A day earlier, Elahi – who had lost the election for Punjab’s top slot to Hamza on April 16 — consulted his legal team headed by Advocate Ali Zafar and it was informed during the huddle that five members of the PTI had gone to perform Hajj while six members were abroad for other reasons.

The PML-Q and PTI had then decided to move the Supreme Court against the LHC order, which had ordered the presiding officer to recount votes for the election held for the chief minister’s slot on April 16 — excluding the 25 votes of the defecting PTI members – on Friday.

The SC decided that the LHC order would now be implemented after by-elections on vacant Punjab Assembly seats were conducted on July 17.

The top court reached the decision after a consensus was reached between the PTI, PML-Q and the Punjab government.

Talking to the media, Elahi welcomed the SC’s order. "A good decision has been taken today in which all our demands have been met,” he added.

He further said even the chief justice of Pakistan had appreciated that a consensus was reached amicably.

He told reporters that the election for the chief minister’s election would now be held after the House was complete.

"They will be conducted once the notifications for the 20 provincial assembly members and five reserved PTI seats are issued."

“The verdict is a win for democracy and the Constitution.”

Talking to the media separately, Hamza said he had stated serving the people as soon as he taken over the post.

“I didn’t seek six months to produce the results. As soon as I came to power, I started serving the public.”

Hamza said he had wholeheartedly accepted the top court’s decision.

He added that he had told the court that he was a democratic person and struggled for 17 years. “I told the honourable chief justice that if I didn't have numbers for the run-off election, I wouldn't even be standing here. I would have gone home.”

The PML-N leader said during the by-elections on July 17, whichever party the people chose should be given the province's charge.

"Even on that day, whatever the public chooses, I will accept it."

He appealed to the people to show their support for his uncle, PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif, and father Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the by-polls.

He noted that Punjab was in a constitutional crisis for the past three months.

He added that first the elections were postponed and then the oath-taking was delayed. “For two months, we didn't have a cabinet. I believe that the amount of crises Punjab has seen in these last three months, it can get an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

Senior PTI leader and former finance minister Asad Umar, while talking to journalists outside the Supreme Court building, said the SC decision vindicated the PTI's stance that Hamza was “never been an elected chief minister of Punjab".

Accompanied by other PTI leaders including Fawad Chaudhry and Babar Awan, Umar said the PTI had never accepted Hamza as the "legal and constitutional chief minister".

He noted that the SC, in its verdict, had stated that nobody would be allowed to influence the by-polls on 20 Punjab seats to be held on July 17, and that directions would also be issued to relevant authorities including the Election Commission of Pakistan and Punjab police chief for this purpose.

Umar said his party had "strong reservations" that the Punjab government would utilise all resources to "influence" the by-elections on the 20 seats. "The provincial government is doing this as it is sensing its defeat at the hands of Imran Khan."

Speaking on the occasion, Fawad claimed that he believed the PTI's stance had been accepted by the apex court, insisting that the people in Punjab would now be able to choose the government of their choice.

The former minister said Hamza would continue as the chief minister with very limited powers until July 22. “The PTI did not want him to remain in office till the elections for the chief minister but [Punjab Assembly Speaker] Pervez Elahi had already given his consent on the matter in court.”

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