Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman declared on Wednesday the ruling of Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan regarding Chief Minister Pervez Elahi’s vote of confidence as “unconstitutional” and “illegal”. The development comes after the expiration of the deadline set by the governor, i.e. 4pm on Wednesday, for the chief minister to obtain a vote of confidence from the provincial assembly. In a four-page order issued on Wednesday evening, Governor Rehman completely rejected the arguments presented by Speaker Sibtain Khan in his ruling, terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”. He further noted that Sibtain as Speaker was empowered, after the issuance of the order by the Governor, to prorogue the existing session and to summon a session for vote of no confidence at the time directed by the governor. “Regards the Assembly being in session, having been summoned by your goodself, under clause (3) of Article 54 read with Article 127, please note that the current session of the Punjab Assembly can only be prorogued by you,” the order read. “Therefore, by ‘summoning of session’ for a vote under Article 130(7) in the aforenoted Order, it is implied that if the ongoing session was prorogued by your goodself at any time before 1600hrs, a new session was required to be summoned at 1600hrs on December 21, 2022 for a vote under Article 130(7).” Alternatively, a sitting of the assembly at the noted time and date could have been summoned in the 41st Session of the Assembly, which your goodself has also noted that it was summoned by me and was never prorogued; or a fresh session specifically summoned for the purposes of requiring the Chief Minister to obtain the vote of confidence: However, nowhere does the Constitution prevent Article 130(7) to take effect if the assembly is already in session. “I would like to remind your goodself that as the worthy Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, you have taken oath, as provided in Third Schedule of the Constitution to discharge your duties and perform your functions honestly, to the best of your ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution, the law and the rules of the Assembly,” Rehman said. He went on to remind Sibtain that he had taken an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Pakistan” and not to allow his “personal interest to influence your official conduct or your official decisions.” “In view of the above, your Ruling has no bearing on the aforenoted Order dated December 19, 2022,” he ruled. On Tuesday, Punjab Assembly Speaker Sibtain Khan had termed the governor’s orders as “illegal, against the provisions of the Constitution and thus stand disposed of”. In his two-page ruling, the speaker maintained that the governor’s orders were not in accordance with Article 54(3) and Article 127. “The house is in session since Oct 23, 2022, and under Article 54(3) and 127. No fresh session can be convened unless and until the current one ends,” the order read.