Following Punjab Governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema’s refusal to administer oath to CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz, the Lahore High Court Friday directed President Arif Alvi to appoint a representative to administer the oath. The order was given by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti on a plea filed by chief minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz against the Punjab governor for not fulfilling his constitutional duty. Before issuing the directives to the president, the LHC had asked the governor to present reasons for not giving the oath in writing by 2pm. When the hearing resumed, LHC CJ Bhatti shared that the governor had excused himself from administering the oath to the CM-elect. At this, he said that this leads to the question of what the court will have to decide. On the other hand, PML-N’s counsel Ashtar Ausaf Ali told the judge that the governor was not saying that he was not available but was refusing to administer the oath. At this, advocate general for Punjab said that under Article 104, the governor had “complete rights” to refuse the oath, says a news report. However, the LHC CJ remarked that the governor could not deny performing his duties and issued the short order. “[A] governor cannot refuse to administer oath. President of Pakistan should appoint another representative for the oath taking,” ruled the LHC CJ in the short order. The court also directed its office to dispatch the order to President Arif Alvi. In a hearing held earlier in the day, Punjab Advocate-General Ahmed Owais in his arguments said: “The speaker can administer the oath if the governor refuses but the PA speaker has not been made a party to the petition”. The provincial law officer argued before LHC CJ Bhatti that the governor was of the view that the election of the chief minister was not held under the Constitution. At this, the CJ asked the AG to tell where it was written that the governor himself would witness the proceedings. In response, the advocate-general said that the governor was not a rubber stamp authority, and an extraordinary situation took place on April 16 which had never happened before – a female member was injured and she is now fighting for her life. The CJ remarked: “Whether this incident will nullify the proceedings of the House; today is the 21st day that there is no government in the province while this election was also held on the orders of the court. This court knows how the election took place. The governor should tell if he is absent or he cannot administer the oath.” Advocate-General Ahmed Awais told the court that the governor had refused to administer the oath. At this, the chief justice asked him to give this in writing that the governor had refused to administer the oath so that the court could ask someone else to do the job. The court said that it would issue an order if the governor does not make a decision. “Today, 21 days have passed and there is no government in the province. The governor of Punjab is not fulfilling his constitutional obligations. If the governor does not write a letter of refusal, the court will issue an order at 2pm,” the judge had said in the morning. Taking to Twitter, CM-elect Hamza Shahbaz termed the LHC’s decision a “win for the Constitution.” He wrote: “There has been no government for 21 days in the province of 110 million people. The CM was elected under the court orders first and now the Constitution has won regarding the oath-taking.” Criticizing the PTI members for not following the Constitution, Hamza said history will remember how they ridiculed the law and Constitution. “This province will lead towards the path of prosperity and development,” he wrote.