An analysis by Barrister Zafar Gilani
The governor of Punjab, Mr Muhammad Baligh Ur Reman, issued the order to denotify the elected Chief Minister and Cabinet of the province of Punjab and sent it to the office of the chief secretary of Punjab to publish in the official gazette.
The order reads as follows;
Consequent to the facts that Ch. Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister of Punjab, refrained from obtaining the vote of confidence at 1600 hours yesterday, in line with an order under Article 130 (7) of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan issued under my hand on 19-12-2022, in line with rule 22(7) of the rules of procedure of the provincial assembly of Punjab, 1997, and that he still has not done so even after the lapse of 24 hours, I am satisfied that he does not command the confidence of the majority of members of Punjab assembly, and therefore, ceases to hold his office with immediate effect.
2 . In consequence of the above, the provincial cabinet stands dissolved forthwith.
3 . In terms of article 133 of the constitution, Ch Pervez Elahi, former Chief minister of Punjab, is hereby asked to continue to hold office until his successor enters upon the office of Chief Minister.
4 . Further, necessary action may be taken immediately.
Given at Lahore, this twenty second day of December, 2022, 1600 hours.
The order was sent to the office of the chief secretary, and the office of the chief secretary has issued the notification vide No. SO(CAB-II)2-12-2018(VOL-II) dated 22 December 2022 to denotify Ch Pervez Elahi as the Chief Minister of Punjab alongside dissolving the cabinet.
This is a Federal Coup in the province of Punjab. Governor is a representative of the federation in the province of Punjab. Then, the chief secretary of the province of Punjab is the federal officer, along with the Inspector general of Punjab IG. It raises a fundamental question. Where is the supremacy of the provincial assembly in the domain of provincial affairs? The people of Punjab have provided the mandate to the Punjab assembly to elect the political executive of the province.
Pakistan is dejure a federation but defacto a unitary state. The posts of chief secretary and IG are provincial posts. How can the federal government appoint their officers on purely provincial posts? According to article 240(b), read with section 4 of the civil servants act, 1974, all posts connected with a province’s affairs fall under a province’s constitutional authority. Then, how can the federal government extend its authority on provincial posts? The federal government extend its unconstitutional authority on these provincial posts on a colonial scheme of reserving provincial posts for central services.
Furthermore, it also considers the agreement reached between federal and provincial governments in 1949. However, it has lately come to the surface that the agreement was not done. Hence, the whole scheme is fraudulent and based on constitutional subversion.https://republicpolicy.com/riddle-of-appointing-chief-secretary/
How did the federal government play with the provincial government during this whole political transaction? Earlier, the federal government appointed its chief secretary and IG in the province of Punjab. They were solely appointed because the federal government could control the bureaucracy and police through these officers. The Chief Secretary and IG are federal officers and not accountable to the provincial government. Therefore, both the officers shall obey the federal government and the provincial government shall be a spectator in their own province. This is the absolute negation and subversion of federalism and provincial autonomy protected in the constitution of Pakistan. Hence, as soon as the governor sent the order to the chief secretary’s office for confirmation, The chief secretary immediately notified the order of the governor. It raises a question. Had there been a provincial civil servant as the chief secretary, would he have denotified the chief minister? The answer is No because the provincial chief secretary would have been a provincial employee accountable to the provincial chief minister and cabinet.
It is the constitutional anomaly of the governance. Provincial governments are irrelevant; only the federal government controls the province, as British Raj would have controlled India from London in the colonial era. Now, the governor, chief secretary and IG are federal employees. What the provincial government, legislature and people of Punjab can do? They are irrelevant. It is not a federation but a unitary state. It will remain a unitary state as long as the chief secretary and IG are appointed by the federal government. It is pertinent to remember that schedule IV of the constitution awards 77 federal and common subjects to the federal government. Then, there are only ten fundamental provincial subjects. However, the federal government also controls these ten provincial subjects by appointing the chief secretary and IG. It means the federal government controls 59 subjects of federal nature, 18 subjects of CCI and all residuary subjects of provinces. It is the absolute control of the federal government on federation, provinces, divisions, districts and even Tehsils on all federal, common and provincial subjects.https://republicpolicy.com/appointment-of-chief-secretary-ig-punjab-unconstitutional-president-aoaf/
In this position, Ch Pervez Elahi and the provincial government can only do something with the federal government’s consent. They can do nothing in their own province as provincial police and bureaucracy are in the control of the federal government. They can only contact the courts for redressal of this constitutional breach of administration. Then, provincial governments are only to blame themselves by allowing the federal government to appoint federal officers in the provinces. Hence, this is a Coup of the federal government where the provincial assembly, cabinet and people have gone irrelevant even in their own province.