Pakistan: PM's son Hamza Sharif takes oath as Punjab CM

He managed to secure a win by a small margin


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Photo : AFP/Punjab Press Information Department
Photo : AFP/Punjab Press Information Department

Published: Sat 23 Jul 2022, 11:45 AM

Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was sworn in as the chief minister of Punjab province on Saturday— a day after he was re-elected to the post by just three votes amidst high drama, when the Deputy Speaker rejected 10 crucial votes of his rival candidate.

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman administered the oath to Hamza, 47 at the Governor House in Punjab.

The run-off election for the chief minister was held in the Punjab Assembly on Friday, in line with the instructions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Hamza was declared the winner in the election, although his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party did not have a majority in the Assembly after the by-elections held on July 17.

Yet, Hamza managed to secure a win by the barest of margins after Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari rejected 10 votes of his rival candidate, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (an ally of ousted PM Imran Khan), and cited Article 63-A of the Constitution in doing so. These 10 votes of Elahi’s PML-Q were not counted, on the pretext that they had violated the orders of their party chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

In the 368-member Punjab Assembly, Hamza’s party received 179 votes, while Elahi’s party garnered 176 votes.

Mazari said that as party chief Hussain’s instruction to PML-Q members to vote for Hamza instead of Elahi held greater sway.

“I give a ruling to reject 10 votes of PML-Q as its chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has written me a letter declaring that his party lawmakers should not vote for the PTI-PMLQ candidate. I had spoken to Shujaat by phone and he confirmed that it is his letter,” Mazari said, adding that Hamza would remain the Chief Minister, due to just three votes. The PTI-PMLQ lawmakers protested Mazari's ruling.

This is the second time that Hamza beat Elahi in the contest for the Punjab Chief Minister. The last time he had secured victory was on April 16, at which time his oath-taking had been delayed for days because of the then-governor, Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, refusing to administer the oath to him.

Eventually, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf administered the oath to him on April 30, following the Lahore High Court's directives.

Following Mazari's ruling, Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that it would approach the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

Earlier, the party chairman Khan had warned that if state machinery were used to steal public mandate, it would lead the country to a Sri Lanka-like situation.

“I will not be able to control people in such a scenario," said Khan.


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