Constitutional crisis grips Pakistan's Punjab as governor de-notifies CM Parvez Elahi

The governor who belongs to PMLN took extreme action to stop Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan from dissolving the Punjab Assembly Image Courtesy Agencies

Lahore: As if daily attacks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and near economic bankruptcy was not enough, Pakistan is not faced with a constitutional crisis in its Punjab province.

Pakistan’s Punjab province plunged into a constitutional crisis as Governor Baligur Rehman on Friday de-notified Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as Chief Minister with “immediate effect” for not complying with his order to obtain a vote of confidence.

The governor who belongs to PMLN took extreme action to stop Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan from dissolving the Punjab Assembly.

Former prime minister Khan had announced to dissolve the Punjab and Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa provincial assemblies where his party is in power to push the federal coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PMLN) to call for snap polls.

In the early hours of Friday, the governor issued an order denotifying chief minister Elahi and his Cabinet.

“Since chief minister, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has refrained from taking a vote of confidence at the appointed day and time (last Wednesday) therefore he ceases to hold office with immediate effect. He however can continue working as chief minister of Punjab till his successor is appointed,” the governor said.

Elahi who belongs to the PTI junior coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PMLQ) said he will move the court against the governor’s ‘illegal order’.

PTI senior leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry have said the governor will have to pay for his “misconduct”.

“The governor’s order denotifying the chief minister and his Cabinet has no legal value. Chief Minister Parvez Elahi and his cabinet will continue to function and a reference against him is being sent to the president for his removal from office ” Fawad Chaudhry tweeted.

The PMLN and its allied parties had vowed to use all options to stop Khan from dissolving the two assemblies. They say the country can’t afford early polls because of its poor economy.

Legal experts say the ongoing constitutional battle between the federal and Punjab governments will eventually be settled by courts as questions of law have arisen after Governor Balighur Rehman asked Chief Minister Elahi to seek a “vote of confidence” in a special assembly session within 48 hours and subsequently denotified him for his failure to comply with his order.

Punjab has not seen political stability since the ouster of prime minister Imran Khan through a “vote of no confidence” in April and several petitions are still pending before the courts relating to the chief minister’s election.

Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.

The former cricketer-turned-politician, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

He alleged that the no-confidence vote was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan. The US has denied the allegations.

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