- PTI seeks to disqualify the votes of those PTI MPAs who supported PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz in Punjab CM elections
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed on Wednesday an announcement on references seeking the disqualification of 25 dissident MPAs of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who voted for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister, it was reported.
On Tuesday, after the completion of the arguments, the ECP stated that the verdict will be announced on Wednesday (today) but later changed the decision. The case was de-listed from the Election Commission's cause list for the day.
It had said that "all involved parties will be notified" before the decision is announced.
Last month, Hamza was elected as 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 the 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.
Votes of dissident lawmakers will not be counted: SC
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday announced that parliamentarians cannot vote against their party policy, adding that the votes of dissident lawmakers will not be counted. This throws into question Hamza's election as Punjab chief minister.
The court, issuing its verdict on the presidential reference that sought its interpretation of Article 63-A of the Constitution, which pertains to the disqualification of lawmakers over defection, said that the "article concerned cannot be interpreted alone."
The verdict by the top court was a 3-2 split decision, with a majority of the judges not allowing lawmakers to vote against the party line in four instances outlined under Article 63-A. These four instances are the election of a prime minister and chief minister; a vote of confidence or no-confidence; a Constitution amendment bill; and a money bill.
The court further announced that the parliament should legislate to decide on the issue of disqualification of dissident lawmakers.