37-member Punjab
cabinet sworn in
despite big political
uncertainty on CM issue

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LAHORE: A 37-member cabinet of Punjab’s “trustee” Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz took oath of their offices here on Sunday evening, provoking the ire of the opposition PTI and PML-Q which termed it a violation of the court orders.

The oath-taking ceremony was held at the Governor House around 16 hours before the Supreme Court is to take up on Monday the case related to the controversial runoff poll for the office of chief minister conducted on Friday.

LAHORE: Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province Hamza Shehbaz (L) takes oath from Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman (2nd from L) in Lahore on Saturday morning, July 23, 2022.

The decision to immediately form the provincial cabinet was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier in the day.

Punjab Governor Bali­ghur Rehman administered oath to the cabinet members. They included ex-speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Mehr Iqbal Achlana, ex-food minister Malik Nadeem Kamran, Bilal Yasin, ex-education minister Rana Mashhood, ex-health minister Khwaja Imran Nazir, Yawar Zaman, Manshaallah Butt, ex-agriculture minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Saba Sadiq, Malik Asad Khokhar, Saiful Malook Khokhar, Rana Liaquat, Bilal Asghar Warraich, Syed Hassan Murtaza, and Haider Ali Gilani.

Retired Col Ayub Gadhi, Kazim Ali Pirzada, Chaudhry Shafiq, Iqbal Gujjar, Fida Hussain Wattoo, Rana Ijaz Noon, Azma Zahid Bukhari, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Sania Ashiq, Sibtain Bukhari, Jehangir Khanzada, retired Col Rana Tariq, Qasim Hanjra, Zaheer Iqbal Channar, Zeeshan Rafiq, Qasim Abbas Langa, Ashraf Ansari, Chaudhry Shafiq, Tanveer Aslam Malik, Siddiq Khan Baloch, and Imran Khalid Butt are other members of the cabinet.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry says the oath taking of the cabinet is against the Supreme Court orders because Hamza is not an “elected” chief minister.

LAHORE: Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman administering the oath from Punjab Cabinet on Sunday.

“They are making fun of the court orders. They are acting like the Sicilian mafia, which is a matter of concern,” he told media in Islamabad.

Parvez Elahi, who had contested against Hamza Shehbaz for the office of chief minister on Friday, criticised the formation of the Punjab cabinet, saying it was an open violation of the apex court’s orders passed during Saturday’s hearing on his petition challenging results of the runoff poll.

He said oath of the Punjab cabinet was no less than a joke and added that the Trustee Chief Minister was making a mockery of the Supreme Court order by doling out ministries.

Mr Elahi said the swearing-in of the large Punjab cabinet would not be able to save the rulers. The court had appointed Hamza as “trustee” chief minister barring him from making any major decision that could benefit him politically, said Mr Elahi, adding the step warranted contempt of court proceedings against Mr Hamza.

Hamza Shehbaz takes oath

Notwithstanding, Hamza Shahbaz, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, on Saturday took oath as the new chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province. He was re-elected with only 3 votes a day after a closely watched election for the coveted post on Friday. 

Shahbaz, the son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, managed to retain the coveted slot as the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party challenged his election in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. And now the litigation procedure will start and it would take time to settle this issue.

Hours of drama followed the crucial election for the Punjab chief minister, which was held on the directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan after 25 members of the opposition PTI were disqualified for violating party directives by voting for the rival candidate, Shahbaz, in an April election. 

Governor Punjab Baligh Ur Rehman administers oath to Hamza Shehbaz Sharif as the Chief Minister of Punjab.

On Friday’s election, the opposition alliance, comprising former prime minister Imran Khan’s PTI and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) parties, bagged 186 votes and the PML