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Pakistan: Re-counting ordered for Punjab CM election

Pakistan: Re-counting ordered for Punjab CM election

Islamabad, June 30 (UNI) The Lahore High Court on Thursday ordered re-counting of votes for the Punjab province Chief Minister's election, wherein Hamza Shahbaz, son of Pakistan President Shehbaz Sharif, had become the province's CM.
The court also instructed to exclude the votes of 25 dissident Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf lawmakers.
The writ petitions filed by the PTI had said Hamza's election in the Punjab Assembly was "illegal" and did not follow due processes and that his notification as the Punjab's chief must also be set aside as it was not in line with the law. A third petition pleaded that Hamza's oath-taking be declared illegal, according to The Express Tribune.
"The decision by August Supreme Court of not counting votes of defecting members of a political party is squarely applicable to the election of CM held on April 14, 2022," said the judgement.
The written judgement said that it was an "undeniable fact" that 25 PTI MPAs had voted in favour of Shahbaz, despite the party nominating PML-Q leader Pervez Elahi as its candidate, The Express Tribune's report said.
The dissident lawmakers' action was against Article 63 A(1)(b) of the Constitution.
"The emphasised part of the order, ibid, discloses the intent behind the decision that possibility of defection from the Party line, policy or direction isto be curbed, at the time of poll by the Presiding Officer, regardless of declaration or action by Party Head. It is understood that presence in the House, enlistment on voter list and casting of vote is not prohibited, however the vote so cast, is held not countable."
The court also instructed to "recount the votes" and to exclude "25 votes of the defecting members".
It added that Punjab's governor must call a session "on July 1 at 4:00 pm without fail".
"As a consequence, if required majority, under Article 130(4), is not secured by any candidate, he shall proceed for second and further polls under its provisos for completing the process of election as required under Article 130(4), unless a candidate is elected by majority votes."
Actions taken by Hamza as CM would "not be adversely affected" by the court's order, a Judge said.
On April 16, Hamza was elected as the province's CM during a provincial assembly session, which was marred by violence. He had received a total of 197 votes — 11 more than the required 186 — including from 25 dissident PTI MPAs that were crucial for his victory. On May 20, those lawmakers were de-seated by the ECP for defecting, Dawn's report said.
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