Pakistan court reinstates ex-PM Khan's ally sacked to halt snap polls plan

Elahi allowed to continue in his office on condition that he would not dissolve Punjab assembly until the next hearing of the case on January 11

By Reuters

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Punjab province Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi in a meeting with Pakistan President Arif Alvi in Lahore. — APP file
Punjab province Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi in a meeting with Pakistan President Arif Alvi in Lahore. — APP file

Published: Fri 23 Dec 2022, 8:25 PM

A Pakistani high court on Friday reinstated a key ally of former Prime Minister Imran Khan hours after he was removed as chief minister of the country's largest province to halt Khan's plans to force snap polls in the South Asian nation.

Punjab province Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi was allowed to continue in his office on condition that he would not dissolve his government until the next hearing of the case on Jan. 11, his counsel Ali Zafar told Reuters.


The crisis has deepened political instability in Pakistan which is in economic meltdown with a severe balance of payment crises.

Punjab Governor Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman, an appointee of Khan's opponent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, issued an order Friday to remove Elahi.


Rehman said he acted on Elahi's failure to seek a vote of confidence, which was mandatory after the governor officially asked him to do that.

"I am satisfied that he doesn't command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Punjab Assembly, and therefore ceases to hold his office with immediate effect," Rehman's order seen by Reuters said.

The Cabinet in Pakistan's biggest province Punjab was also dissolved, it said.

Rehman confirmed the orders in a tweet.

Elahi had challenged the removal in the Lahore High Court.

"I submitted an undertaking on behalf of Pervaiz Elahi that he wouldn't dissolve the assembly till next hearing," Zafar, the attorney said, adding that the next hearing will review the legality of the governor's order.

Khan last week announced that he would seek to dissolve two provincial governments run by his party and coalition partners.

Once that's done, he had said his party would also resign from the federal parliament that is run by a unity government consisting of his opposition parties.

That scenario would have vacated over 60 percent of the parliamentary seats to make Khan's case for snap polls stronger.

Khan has been demanding snap polls since he was ousted in April after he lost a parliamentary vote of confidence, and led countrywide rallies to mount pressure on the government.

At one of these rallies, Khan was shot at and wounded.

Sharif's unity government has rejected the demand, reiterating repeatedly that the elections will be held as scheduled later in 2023.


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