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Pakistan

ECP reserves verdict on reference against dissident PTI MPAs

  • Involved parties will be notified before the announcement of decision, says ECP
Updated 17 May, 2022

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a reference seeking the disqualification of 25 dissident MPAs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who had voted for PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz in the election for the Punjab chief minister, Aaj News reported.

After the completion of the arguments, the ECP stated that the verdict will be announced on Wednesday but later changed the decision. In its latest statement, issued hours after the completion of remarks, ECP said that "all involved parties will be notified" before the decision is announced.

Last month, Hamza was elected Punjab chief minister, after receiving 197 votes, including 25 from PTI dissident lawmakers.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who was the joint candidate of PTI and PML-Q, did not receive any vote as both parties boycotted the voting session.

After the election, Elahi sent a reference against the dissident MPAs to the ECP, urging the forum to de-seat these lawmakers for defecting from the party policy.

“The MPAs named in the reference had been issued directions by the PTI but they had cast their votes for Hamza,” the reference had stated. The dissident MPAs had been issued show-cause notices to explain their position but they had not replied, it added.

During the hearing today, Khalid Ishaq, the counsel for ten MPAs, informed the court that the lawmakers had neither received an invitation nor the agenda for the April 1 parliamentary party meeting.

“Only two lawmakers received show-cause notices on April 7,” he said, adding that the dissident lawmakers did not receive the declaration for disqualification sent on April 18 as well.

He argued that his clients were not allowed to present their views.

“The parliamentary party's decision is nowhere to be found,” he told the court. “A false document was made after the parliamentary party's meeting. [Former prime minister] Imran Khan mocks the members and the ECP every day."

ECP rejects reference against dissident PTI MNAs

Ishaq argued that even if party chairman Imran's instructions were "correct", the MPAs could still not be disqualified.

Similar arguments were made by Javed Malik, who was representing dissident MPA Aisha Nawaz.

"A no-confidence motion was pending against Elahi. Can he send the [disqualification] reference despite that?" Malik asked.

PTI's response

Meanwhile, PTI's counsel Barrister Ali Zafar argued that it was being said the parliamentary party had not issued instructions. He said that the party’s policy runs day and night on the different forms of media.

"On April 1, all MPAs were given instructions regarding Elahi," he said. "The chief whip at the Punjab Assembly had also written a letter to inform the MPAs. Imran Khan had tweeted about the decision as well which was read by millions of people."

Barrister Ali Zafar also presented the original documents of the courier company before the ECP.

However, the ECP did not allow the submission of those receipts after Advocate Salman Akram Raja, who was representing Aleem Khan objected, stating that additional documents could not be submitted at this stage.

Subsequently, the ECP reserved its verdict after the completion of the arguments.

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