ECP orders to retain Chaudhry Shujaat as PML-Q president

Commission also suspends party’s intra-party polls’ schedule

By: News Desk
Published: 11:23 AM, 5 Aug, 2022
ECP orders to retain Chaudhry Shujaat as PML-Q president
Caption: TV grab.
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Suspending the schedule announced by the election commission of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) for intra-party elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday said that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain would remain the party president, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

The ECP also issued a notice to the party’s election commission.  

A four-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the petition filed by PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain seeking cancellation of the elections.

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja said that he had received a letter as well as a petition from the party. “Let’s hear them together,” he remarked.  

Speaking on the occasion, counsel for the PML-Q said that on July 28, 2022, a paper had gone viral on social media in which it was stated that the party’s central working committee’s meeting had been held with Kamil Ali Agha in the chair. “It was further written on it that both Chaudhry Shujaat and Tariq Basheer Cheema had been removed from their posts of PML-Q president and PML-Q secretary general, respectively,” he said, adding, “However, the letter did not bear the signature of any office-bearer of the party.”

Truth of the matter was, he went on to add, that working committee did not exist in the PML-Q. 

Furthermore, he informed the bench, none of the party members had received any intimation in this regard. “The meeting was a blatant violation of the constitution,” he argued.   

Chaudhry Shujaat’s counsel also sought action against members of the party who posed themselves as members of the working committee and attended its meeting. 

He contended that a party president would remain the president until and unless he resigned from his post, and that the committee had no right to order his removal.

Similarly, the lawyer added, announcing the elections’ schedule was also a clear-cut violation of the constitution. 

A member ECP asked him as to which position Agha held in the party. PML-Q’s lawyer replied that he was the party office-bearer in Punjab. 

The CEC ruled that there would be no legal significance of any action until and unless the case was decided. 

The commission then adjourned hearing of the petition until August 16, 2022. 

PML-Q’s intra-party elections were earlier scheduled to be held on August 10. 

Earlier on Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan fixed Ch Shujaat Hussain’s petition for immediate hearing seeking commission’s ruling to halt intraparty elections in the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.

A four-member bench of the ECP headed by its Chief Sikandar Sultan Raja heard Ch Shujaat’s petition challenging the holding of intraparty election in the PML-Q.

The PML-Q Central Working Committee in its meeting on July 28 stripped Ch Shujaat of his position as party chief and announced intraparty election on Aug 10.

Ch Shujaat has challenged the PML-Q CWC decision to hold intraparty elections. 

The CWC claimed that the PML-Q chief was unable to take ‘prudent’ party decisions owing to his ill health and the latter was conspiring against and using the party for his personal interests.

The PML-Q committee meeting which was held under the chairmanship of Senator Kamil Ali Agha decided to hold fresh elections for top party positions within 10 days. It constituted a five-member election commission and appointed the party lawyers’ wing acting president, Jahangir A Jhoja, as the election commissioner. Mr Jhoja would also oversee the party’s organisational and administrative matters until the intraparty polls. 

The row within the party ranks reached its pinnacle when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the party chief wrote a letter to PML-Q lawmakers in Punjab not to vote for his cousin, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, in the recent chief minister’s election in the province. 

Initially, Elahi was declared unsuccessful by then Punjab Assembly speaker’s ruling who discarded 10 PML-Q MPAs’ votes citing letter written by Ch Shujaat. But later, Elahi went to the Supreme Court and the court declared him successful saying that the parliamentary party was responsible to give directions regarding vote, not the party head. 

Reporter: Usman Khan