ECP defers verdict in dissident PTI MPAs case

Says it will first issue notices to respondents: Shafqat Mehmood says PTI turncoats stand disqualified in light of SC verdict

By: News Desk
Published: 11:23 AM, 18 May, 2022
ECP defers verdict in dissident PTI MPAs case
Caption: Representational image.
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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which was due to decide the fate of 25 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members of the Punjab Assembly (MPAs), who had defected to the then opposition ahead of the election of the provincial chief minister, today has now deferred announcement of the decision, and said that it will first issue notices to the respondents instead, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday.

The ECP’s verdict gained special significance after the Supreme Court’s yesterday’s (Tuesday) verdict, in which it, while interpreting Article 63-A of the constitution, had said that the votes of a party’s turncoats would not be counted.  

Reserving the verdict in the case yesterday, the ECP had said it would pronounce the decision today at 12:00 PM. 

Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had sent a reference to the election commission against 25 PTI dissidents, who voted against the party policy in election for the Punjab chief minister on April 16, 2022. 

Earlier, lawyers of all the parties completed their arguments.

After listening to their arguments, the ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, reserved the verdict

It is pertinent to mention here that the election commission in its May 11 verdict, rejected the disqualification reference against the MNAs of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) involved in floor crossing during the no-confidence motion against their party’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The ECP said in its verdict that the reference against 20 MNAs of the PTI was not proved.

The PTI dissident MNAs included: Raja Riaz, Noor Alam Khan, Ahmed Hussain Dhar, Nawab Sher Waseer, Ramesh Kumar, Riaz Mazari, Basit Bukhari, Rana Qasim, Basit Sultan Raja, Khawaja Sheraz, Ghaffar Wattoo, Nuzhat Pathan, Wajiha Akram, and others.  

PTI turncoats stand disqualified in light of SC verdict: Shafqat

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shafqat Mehmood said on Wednesday that in the light of yesterday’s (Tuesday) interpretation of Article 63-A of the constitution by the Supreme Court (SC), those PTI dissidents who had voted for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister now stood disqualified, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Addressing a press conference along with other PTI leaders, he said now it was up to the parliament to decide whether it would be lifelong disqualification or for some years. 

He went on to say that political parties too had their rights, and these were laid down in the constitution. “If any member does not act according to the instructions of the party’s high command, he or she violates the constitution,” he said.  

Shafqat expressed the hope that the SC’s decision would strengthen democracy in the country. “Particularly, it will discourage party defections in lieu of monetary and other benefits,” he said, and added however he was surprised at the conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which, today, deferred verdict in the case of  25 PTI MPAs who had voted for Hamza in the election. 

PTI leader said it was in everybody’s knowledge that those PTI MNAs who had joined hands with the then opposition prior to voting on the no-trust motion against the PTI government were ‘deserters’. “But it is only the ECP which cannot see them, and notice their objectionable behavior,” he regretted.  

Reporter: Rozeena Ali