On Friday, Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the Supreme Court stated that the election of the Punjab Chief Minister is not possible today, implying that the court may grant the PTI’s request for a 24-hour postponement in the vote recount. However, during the hearing of the PTI case against the Lahore High Court’s decision to recount the MPAs’ votes in the Punjab Assembly for the election of the chief minister by removing the votes of 25 dissident PTI MPAs, the Supreme Court refused to restore the Usman Buzdar administration. The hearing is being presided over by a three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail. At the start of the session, Justice Ahsan stated that Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz received 197 votes and that if the 25 votes of PTI rebel members were misused, he would be left with 172 votes. According to the judge, the LHC ordered a vote recount on April 16, and if Hamza did not receive 186 votes, re-election would be placed under Article 130(4), until another candidate received a majority of votes. The justice stated that he did not agree with the PTI’s request to postpone the vote recount/reelection process. “On which basis, we should interfere in the decision of the LHC verdict,” the judge said, adding that all members might attend the assembly session with 24 hours’ notice. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, unequivocally denied the reinstatement of the previous Usman Buzdar government, calling it impossible. Justice Ahsan stated that he was aware of the PTI’s worries, but that the province could not be left without a chief minister. He claimed that democracy works best when individuals make decisions. “If chief minister does not have 186 votes, then it’s difficult for him to remain the provincial executive,” he remarked. CJP Bandial noted that the LHC desired that the provincial administration remains in the province. He did, however, query whether the acting chief minister formula might be used in Punjab. “But it’s not possible that the former chief minister would be restored”, the CJP continued. During the hearing, the PTI requested that the vote recount/reelection be postponed for at least a week because several of its members were unable to participate in today’s vote recount procedure due to various engagements and some were out of station. On this, the CJP questioned the PTI lawyer if his party intended the province to be without a chief minister for seven days. Justice Ahsan asked the PTI lawyer how could the province be run without a chief minister? According to the constitution, only public representatives can administer a province, according to Pakistan’s Chief Justice Bandial. According to Justice Ahsan, the interim setup could only be constituted once the parliament was dissolved. PTI lawyer Babar Awan suggested that an interim cabinet be formed in Punjab. Justice Ahsan inquired who would take place of the chief minister. Mr Awan replied that some senior minister could run the province. With this, the court announced a second break in the hearing. It is worth noting that the challenged LHC order requires Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman to hold the provincial assembly’s session today (Friday) at 4 p.m. without fail, and not to adjourn it without holding the poll. Earlier today, the PTI pleaded with the apex court to accept its appeal against the LHC’s decision. “The PTI assembly members must be given adequate time to attend the assembly session,” it demanded. “Hamza Shehbaz should be removed from the office so that a clean and transparent election could be held. The election of Punjab Chief Minister should be stopped till decision on the petition [appeal],” it added. “Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz Sharif’s notification of success should be suspended. The election of Chief Minister in Punjab Assembly should be suspended immediately,” it demanded further. “A suitable time should be given to convening the assembly session by changing the decision of the high court. The parties in the case have the constitutional right to clean and transparent elections,” it added. It should be noted that the appeal was filed and requested to be heard today by the court by PTI attorneys Faisal Chaudhry and Imtiaz Siddiqui.