Islamabad:Tension has built up between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Governor Latif Khosa over certain decisions of the provincial government especially its nominations of vice chancellors of six universities.
“The governor has no authority or role and is just a titular head of the province,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told The News.
Specifically, he said, the governor has no power whatsoever in the appointment of vice chancellors and is required just to approve the proposals of the provincial government.
Rana Sanaullah referred to a judgment of the Lahore High Court (LHC) which held that the governor has no power to nominate the VCs and is bound to accept the recommendations of the provincial government to the effect. The decision was handed down on a petition filed by an educationist when Salman Taseer was governor of Punjab. The provincial government had not approached the LHC.
The law minister said that the proposals regarding these six appointments, returned by the governor, would not be changed and would be re-sent to him by the Punjab administration.
The Punjab government appointed VCs of the Government College University Lahore, Education University Lahore, Sargodha University, Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi, Lahore College for Women University and Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan.
Rana Sanaullah said that after the 18th amendment the governor was just a figurehead and has to approve the proposals and recommendations officially submitted to him by the Punjab government on different issues. He particularly quoted Articles 105 and 116 of the Constitution, which, he said, illustrate the position of the governor.
Besides the nominations of the VCs, the chief minister-governor row also revolves around the appointment of members of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and the promulgation of the Ring Road Ordinance. The law minister said that the relevant law only mentioned the PPSC chairman but was silent on its members as far as their appointment was concerned.
To a question, the law minister said the governor created no hurdles since his appointment in January this year, but has now started putting up obstacles in the smooth working of the Punjab government. He didn’t know what has prompted Khosa to do this. “However, we aren’t bothered about the governor’s new policy because the Constitution doesn’t envisage any role for him and it is the provincial government, which has all the powers,” Rana Sanaullah said and stressed that Khosa would have to follow the law and the Constitution.
The governor had returned the Ring Road Ordinance without signing it on the ground that it could not be issued under a Supreme Court verdict and it should be passed by the Punjab Assembly. The chief minister has accepted his view.
Article 105 says that subject to the Constitution, in the performance of his functions, the Governor shall act on and in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or the Chief Minister: Provided that within fifteen days the Governor may require the Cabinet or, as the case may be, the Chief Minister to reconsider such advice, whether generally or otherwise, and the Governor shall within ten days act in accordance with the advice of tendered after such reconsideration. The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered to the Governor by the Chief Minister or the Cabinet shall not be inquired into in, or by, any court, tribunal or other authority.The news