Hailing the Supreme Court’s ruling that the re-election for the Punjab chief minister be held on July 22, PTI senior leader and former finance minister Asad Umar said the decision was an affirmation of the PTI’s stance that Hamza Shehbaz “has never been an elected chief executive of the province”. Flanked by other senior party leaders, Asad said the PTI had never accepted Hamza as the legal and constitutional chief minister. Asad noted that the verdict also said that no one would be allowed to influence the by-polls on 20 Punjab seats, to be held on July 17, and that directions would also be issued to relevant authorities including the ECP and Punjab inspector general of police in this regard. He quoted the chief justice as commenting that the only solution in such kinds of crisis was to reach out to the public. “We hope the decision makers will also reach this decision soon as the country is suffering dearly due to inflation and a faltering economy,” he added. He said the PTI was “eagerly” waiting for the Election Commission to notify PTI members on five reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly. Umar said his party had “strong reservations” that the Punjab government would utilize all resources to “influence” the by-elections on 20 seats. “The provincial government is doing this as it is sensing its defeat at the hands of Imran Khan.” Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry said he believed the PTI’s stance had been accepted by the apex court, insisting that the people in Punjab would now be able to choose the government of their choice. He said two remarks from the chief justice were significant. “First, he said elections are the ultimate solution to crises in parliamentary democracies. Secondly, he talked about the importance of opposition in the National Assembly.” Chaudhry praised the top court for resolving “Punjab’s political crisis”, saying the SC bench took up the case as “statesmen”.