President Arif Alvi rejected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice to fire Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema on Monday.
“The President has promised to uphold the provisions of Pakistan’s constitution during difficult times and strongly rejected the Prime Minister’s recommendation to fire the governor of Punjab,” the Office of the President said in a press release.
In the first summary sent by Prime Minister Shevaz to the President on 17 April, he recommended the name of the PPP’s Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood as Governor of Punjab. However, when President Alvi returned the summary after withholding the summary for 15 days without a decision, the prime minister reaffirmed on Saturday his advice calling for the removal of Cheema and the appointment of Balighur Rehman, a PML-N loyalist from Bahawalpur.
Albi told the prime minister that he could not remove the governor without his approval and that in accordance with Article 101(3) of the Constitution, he “will continue to serve in accordance with the will of the president”.
According to the press release, “He wrote that the current governor cannot be removed from the office of any court because he has not been charged with any misconduct, conviction, or conduct that is contrary to the Pakistani Constitution,” the press release said.
President Alvi said he had sent a report on the process of the Prime Minister’s election to the Punjab Parliament, which highlighted the governor’s constitutional role and questioned the validity of Usman Buzdar’s resignation and changes in MPA loyalty.
“The President emphasized that the incumbent governor must remain in place to encourage and promote a healthy and clean democratic system in which its members are not coerced or bribed to effect undue change, and Article 63A of the Constitution specifically prohibits such conduct,” he said. Added a press release.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaula said that the president had no choice but to follow the advice of the prime minister, and violating it was unconstitutional.
He said the presidency is a symbolic seat of parliamentary democracy and has no “veto”. “The President is not the PTI Secretariat. Don’t be a slave to Imran Khan. [and] Follow the constitution,” said Sanaullah.