Punjab Governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema has rejected the resignation of Usman Buzdar — who had stepped down as the provincial chief executive on March 28 — on Saturday, declaring that it was “not constitutionally valid”.
The development comes just hours before Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz is set to take oath as Buzdar’s successor at a ceremony at Governor House at 10.30am. Last evening, the Lahore High Court directed the National Assembly Speaker to administer the oath.
The governor, who has been refusing to administer the oath to Hamza despite court directives to perform the duty, informed Punjab Assembly Speaker Pavez Elahi of his decision in a letter.
In the letter, Cheema wrote that in light of “the recent developments and ensuing constitutional crisis, I feel that it would be unbecoming of Governor’s office unless I bring to your notice the true and correct facts relating to the alleged resignaiton of Chief Minister Mr Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar”.
Former Punjab education minister Murad Raas confirmed the development in a tweet earlier, saying that Cheema had restored Buzdar’s cabinet and a meeting of the provincial cabinet had been called subsequently.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and his Cabinet restored by Governor Punjab Omar Cheema. Cabinet meeting called today. #MarchAgainstImportedGovt #امپورٹڈ_حکومت_نامنظور— Murad Raas (@DrMuradPTI) April 30, 2022
Later, Buzdar reached the Punjab Assembly and spoke to the media, confirming the rejection of his resignation.
He said he, too, had received a copy of Cheema’s letter to the PA speaker and that it would be discussed in the cabinet meeting called today.
Buzdar refused to comment any further on the matter, saying that he would consult his legal team and the cabinet.
Meanwhile, DawnNewsTV reported that security around the Governor House had been beefed up and large contingent of police was deployed there.