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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has submitted its response to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the replies submitted by 25 dissident MPAs in the defection reference, seeking their disqualification for casting votes against the party’s policy in the election of the Punjab chief minister last month.

Earlier, during the case proceedings, PTI counsel Faisal Chaudhry concluded his arguments.

In his arguments, he said that the disqualification reference against the PTI MPAs was an “open-and-shut” case due to the reason that the dissidents voted against the party policy in the CM Punjab election.

“The ECP should not take more than a few minutes to decide this case,” he said. PTI’s Barrister Ali Zafar argued that the defection reference against the 25 provincial assembly members (MPAs) was different than that of the defection reference against the 20 members of the National Assembly (MNAs).

“The MPAs voted against the party’s policy that clearly attracts the implication of Article 63-A,” Zafar stated.

The defence lawyer was of the view that the submission of additional documents by the PTI against the dissidents at this stage was a belated move and was not maintainable.

Heading the three-member bench that heard the case, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja asked the prosecution lawyer if they had submitted PTI’s signed response to the replies of the dissident MPAs. The prosecution assured that the PTI’s response would be submitted on Friday, which was submitted later.

Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi were part of the ECP bench.

The case was adjourned till coming Monday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the ECP dismissed cases against PTI’s 20 dissident MNAs, terming the cases “devoid of force,” which, the commission said, “cannot be entertained at this belated stage.”

The dissident PTI MNAs took the stance in the ECP that they did not participate in the voting on the no-confidence motion against the then Prime Minister Imran Khan last month nor did they join any other political party. On April 25, the ECP had announced to summon 46 PTI dissident lawmakers—20 MNAs and 26 MPAs- for hearing their cases under Article 63-A.

The case against one PTI dissident MPA Javed Akhtar was dismissed on the grounds that he did not cast vote in the election of CM Punjab.

Article 63-A of the Constitution deals with the defection of lawmakers, who vote against their party’s direction in the election of PM/ CM, vote of confidence/ vote of no-confidence, and money bill.

The ECP, under Article 63-A, is bound to decide the defection case(s) within 30 days of the receipt of related case(s).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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