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Punjab Assembly’s dilemma worsens as speaker adjourns the session till Friday

Punjab Assembly

LAHORE: Tuesday saw a worsening of the political upheaval and constitutional crisis in Punjab; thus, Speaker of the Provincial Assembly Sibtain Khan overruled Governor Baligh-ur-decree Rehman’s and called an adjournment of the current session till Friday.

A no-confidence resolution against Chief Minister Parvez Elahi was presented by parliamentarians from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the Punjab governor called the provincial assembly’s session on Wednesday, December 21, a day earlier.

“The governor of Punjab is pleased to sign the order summoning the provincial assembly of Punjab at 1600 hours (4 pm) on Wednesday and requiring the chief minister of Punjab to obtain a vote of confidence in accordance with Article 130(7) of the Constitution,” reads a notification from the Punjab Governor‘s Secretariat.

According to Speaker Sibtain Khan’s decision, a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court in the Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo v. Federation of Pakistan case, the governor cannot call a new session until and unless the present session is prorogued.

According to Article 130(7) of the Constitution, which gives the governor the power to call a session for a vote of confidence, the session can “be determined only in a session which is particularly convened for this reason,” the speaker said.

Khan also said that the governor cannot call for a vote of confidence under Article 130(7) while the present session is still in session and that such a session can only be called after the speaker has prorogued the current session.

The speaker further stated that the chief minister should be given “not less than 10 days” to secure the vote of confidence in accordance with the LHC’s directive. According to the procedure, that is the bare minimum of time that must be given to the chief minister. He said that the governor lacks the authority to call the meeting where the chief minister must win a vote of confidence.

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