Petition against acceptance of Buzdar’s resignation withdrawn after LHC’s rebuke

The Lahore High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition challenging the acceptance of former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar’s resignation by ex-governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar after the chief justice berated the petitioner for having no locus standi in the case.

The constitutional petition, a copy of which is available with, was filed by Advocate Nadeem Sarwar. The petitioner had contended that Sarwar had accepted Buzdar’s resignation even though it was addressed to ex-PM Imran and not him, which was a violation of Article 130(8) of the Constitution that stated: “The chief minister may, by writing under his hand addressed to the governor, resign from his office.”

The petition had called on the court to declare Sarwar’s acceptance of Buzdar’s resignation to be without lawful authority. It also called on the court to restrain Hamza from taking charge as the chief minister till the petition is decided.

Hearing the plea today, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Amir Bhatti asked the petitioner what his connection with the case was. Advocate Sarwar responded that it was necessary for the resignation [submitted by Buzdar] to be handwritten.

The chief justice expressed his resentment, saying the petition was tantamount to making a joke out of the court. “Is this a democratic system? … The whole of Pakistan is in turmoil … no one has patience,” he said.

The LHC chief justice said he was dismissing the petition with a fine of Rs1 million. At this, the petitioner urged the judge to allow him to withdraw his plea.

The court then dismissed the petition as withdrawn without the imposition of a fine.

Buzdar had presented his resignation to former premier Imran on March 28 after a delegation of senior lawmakers had submitted a no-trust motion against him with Punjab Assembly secretariat the same day.

Following Buzdar’s resignation, the PTI had announced the PML-Q’s Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as its candidate for Punjab chief minister.

The move had come as the ruling party had stepped up efforts to ensure the support of its allies ahead of a no-trust vote against Imran, against the backdrop of multiple PTI allies joining the opposition.

On April 1, Sarwar had formally accepted Buzdar’s resignation and summoned a session of the Punjab Assembly for the election of a new provincial chief executive. Two days later, Sarwar was removed from the post and replaced with Cheema.

Over the weekend, Hamza was elected the new chief minister after garnering 197 votes during a Punjab Assembly session marred by violence.

The governor is refusing to administer oath to Hamza saying that the Punjab Assembly secretary’s report, the LHC’s instructions and “the facts presented” to him raised questions about the validity of the chief minister’s election. He had also sought a legal opinion on Buzdar’s resignation.

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