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Govt removes Governor Punjab Omar Sarfraz Cheema

Omar Sarfraz Cheema took oath on April 3. Source: Twitter.

LAHORE: The federal government has denotified Omar Sarfraz Cheema as Punjab governor.

According to a late-night notification issued by the Cabinet Division, Omar Sarfraz Cheema has been removed from his office and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi would be acting governor.

A large contingent of police has been deployed outside the Governor’s House to stop Cheema from entering and to avoid any untoward incident. 

A day earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi rejected the Prime Minister’s advice to remove Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema.

A statement issued by the President read that “the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.” It referred to clause 3 of Article 101 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

He wrote that the “incumbent governor cannot be removed as there was neither any allegation of misconduct nor conviction by any court of law or of any act committed by him contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan.”

The president also highlighted the constitutional role of the Sarfraz Cheema, especially regarding the happenings in the Punjab Assembly. The governor had questioned the validity of former CM Usman Buzdar’s resignation and selling of votes amid the CM elections.

President Arif Alvi added that he is committed to stand by the constitution of Pakistan and ‘strongly’ rejects the Prime Minister’s advice to remove Governor Punjab.

Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah asked Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema to resign respectfully and warned him as well as President Arif Alvi against taking any “adverse step”.

“A governor of a few hours should go home willingly and not cause disrespect for himself,” the minister said in a statement He warned the governor as well as the president to not do anything to ire the people’s ire.

Sanaullah also reminded President Alvi that he is bound to accept the advice put forth by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. “To not do so would be unconstitutional,” he said, adding, “They should follow the Constitution and the directives of the Supreme Court and avoid a step that violates them.”

Earlier the prime minister had sent a second summary to President Alvi for the removal of the Punjab governor. According to sources, legally, 10 days after the summary is sent, Cheema would automatically be dismissed from his post.

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