Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s fate hangs in the balance, as the Lahore High Court (LHC) once again on Wednesday adjourned the case proceedings till June 30. A five-member LHC bench – headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan -resumed hearing separate pleas filed by PTI and PML-Q against Hamza’s election as chief minister. Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh said the court will wrap up the case the same day (Wednesday). However, the hearing was adjourned once again. Justice Shahid Jameel remarked that the court will hear arguments from the counsel representing Hamza Shahbaz first. The judge remarked that Hamza’s lawyer will give arguments if the Supreme Court’s verdict on the presidential reference – seeking the interpretation of Article 63(A) of the Constitution related to defecting lawmakers – applies to past events. The apex court, on May 17, ruled that the votes of dissident members of Parliament (MPs), cast against their parliamentary party’s directives, could not be counted. Following Justice Jameel’s directive, Hamza’s counsel started his arguments, maintaining that the ruling didn’t apply to past events unless the apex court itself says so, says a news report. “T he truth is that Hamza’s election as Punjab CM hasn’t been challenged but different events had been challenged,” the counsel said. At the completion of arguments by Hamza’s lawyer, PTI counsel Barrister Ali Zafar came to the rostrum. In his arguments, Barrister Ali Zafar pleaded with the court that the SC’s verdict should be implemented instead of going after the point of past or future. Justice Shahid asked the lawyer if the court could nullify the notification of Hamza Shehbaz’s election as CM. “Can this court play the role of a presiding officer?” asked Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan. “If the defecting lawmakers’ votes are not counted, then the presiding officer will have to be directed to hold re-election for the slot,” said Ali Zafar. In the case of re-election, the notification regarding the appointment of Hamza Shahbaz would be nullified, said the PTI’s lawyer. The court could only tell the presiding officer that he did wrong by counting the votes of defiant MPs, he added. Earlier, the court called President Arif Alvi’s lawyer Advocate Ahmad Awais to the rostrum and sought his views on the remarks made by the single bench about the president. Awais pleaded with the court to nullify the single bench remarks about the president. At this, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi asked if he meant to say that the remarks were given without hearing the president. A new political crisis is likely to emerge if the LHC declares the election of Punjab chief minister null and void and orders re-election. If the court announces its verdict against the incumbent CM, the same candidates, Hamza Shehbaz and Pervez Elahi, will once again vie for the slot. For the vote of confidence, the new CM will require 186 votes making half of the strength of the House. If the court restores the Punjab Assembly to the April 16 situation, the deputy speaker will supervise the proceedings of the CM’s election. However, if a no-confidence motion is tabled against him, the panel of chairmen will conduct the proceedings. In the light of the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Election Commission of Pakistan has de-seated 25 defectors of the PTI. By-elections on the 20 vacant seats will be held on July 17 and the election campaign is in full swing. The Election Commission is yet to notify two minority and three women members on the reserved seats as per the priority list of the PTI.