Election Commission of Pakistan deseats PTI's 25 dissident MPAs

Aleem Khan, Nazir Chohan, Nauman Lagrial, Uzma Kardar, Sajida Yousaf, Aisha Nawaz, Raja Sagheer, Rasool Sangha and others hit by the landmark verdict: De-seated lawmakers decide to go to SC: Asad Umar, Farrukh Habib hail ECP decision

By: News Desk
Published: 11:18 AM, 20 May, 2022
Election Commission of Pakistan deseats PTI's 25 dissident MPAs
Caption: Representational image.
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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has deseated the 25 members of Punjab Assembly belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who voted in favour of Hamza Shehbaz Sharif in the chief minister's election, ignoring party's directive not to do so, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

A three-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja announced the 23-page verdict which was unanimous. 

The written verdict has also been released. 

According to the judgement, the ECP said that it reached the conclusion that during the election of Punjab chief minister, the PTI dissident members cast their votes in favour of the candidate of the rival party. 

“The defection of the (PTI) lawmakers has been proved when they cast their votes in favour of the rival candidate. So the Election Commission has accepted the declaration against the dissident members. The commission cancels the Punjab Assembly membership of the dissidents and their seats are declared vacant,” the verdict stated.

The PTI dissident lawmakers who have been de-seated after the landmark decision included: Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Mohammad Ajmal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Nazir Ahmed Chohan, Mohammad Amin Zulqernain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Mohammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Mohammad Tahir, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Haroon Imran Gill, Uzma Kardar, Malik Asad Ali, Ijaz Masih, Mohammad Sabtain Raza, Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Mehar Mohammad Aslam and Faisal Hayat.

According to the breakdown, 16 de-seated MPAs belonged to the Jehangir Khan Tareen Group; 5 to the Aleem Khan and 4 belonged to the KhokharGroup.  

The ECP wanted to announce its verdict regarding PTI dissident MPAs on May 18 but it delayed the verdict as the Supreme Court in its historic judgement on the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A on the same day said votes cast against party direction "cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the party head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection".

Article 63-A seeks to restrict lawmakers from voting (or abstaining) in violation of party instructions "in relation to election of the prime minister or chief minister; or a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or a money bill or a Constitution (amendment) bill".

The votes of the 25 PTI dissidents had been helpful for Hamza Shehbaz to bag a total of 197 votes during the election of chief minister in Punjab Assembly while 186 votes were required for a simple majority. Since these 25 MPAs are no longer members of the House, Hamza has lost his majority.

Earlier, the ECP had reserved the verdict on the reference filed against 25 dissident lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Punjab Assembly and announced that it will be announced at 3pm on Friday (today). The ECP has also issued notices to respondents in the case.

Earlier, the ECP was likely to announce the verdict on Wednesday (May 18), but the verdict could not be pronounced for some reasons.

It is to be noted here that Punjab Assembly Speaker Ch Pervaiz Elahi had sent the reference against the dissident lawmakers of the PTI in Punjab Assembly to the ECP.

The speaker in the reference had sought an action against the dissidents under article 63-A of the Constitution because they had defected to the opposition before the election of Punjab Chief Minister.

A three-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, had conducted first hearing of the reference on May 6, and issued notices to the respondents.

The ECP has conducted total eight hearings of the reference.

De-seated MPAs decide to go to SC 

 On the other hand, the de-seated MPAs have decided to go to the Supreme Court against the ECP decision. 

The de-seated lot of the lawmakers have decided to challenge the decision in the apex court. There are 5 MPAs who were elected on the reserved seats. 

Asad Umar, Farrukh Habib hail ECP decision  

Former development minister and PTI senior leader Asad Umar hailed the ECP decision saying that another chapter of the ‘horrible’ politics has closed. “God willing, the country will head towards progress,” he added.

Former state minister for information and broadcasting Farrukh Habib posted a tweet saying: “Under the leadership of Imran Khan, the people have crushed the lotas (turncoats) with their struggle. It’s not the time for conscience-sellers, now is the time for the people to cast their votes. Hold elections immediately.” 

Reporters Usman Khan and Qazzafi Butt