ECP de-seats 25 PTI Punjab MPAs for defection

ECP de-seats 25 PTI Punjab MPAs for defection


The Election Commission has announced verdict on reference submitted by PTI.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has de-seated 25 dissident PTI Punjab MPAs for defecting the party. 

The 25 dissident PTI members against whom the disqualification reference was filed include 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.

During the last hearing, the counsel for the dissident members of the provincial assembly argued that the MPAs were unaware of the directions given by the parliamentary party about voting in favour of Pervaiz Elahi for Punjab’s chief minister.

On which, the PTI counsel, Syed Ali Zafar said, “By taking the defence and claiming they were not aware of parliamentary party directions regarding who to vote for in the election of the chief minister when the entire world and the nation knew about it,

and the same was being discussed in talk shows and reported in the newspapers, is like saying that the MPAs were, though awake, yet sleeping all this time,” he added.

The counsel claimed that meeting of the parliamentary party was held on April 1, its decision was reported in the press the next day, that notices to all MPAs of the Punjab Assembly were issued on April 2 by the chief whip and another notice was sent on April 4 by PTI General Secretary Asad Umar, that another meeting was held in April in which the same decision was taken, and that a notice was sent on April 7 for the third time.

It may be recalled that the above mentioned provincial lawmakers had voted in favor of Hamza Shahbaz in the election of Punjab Chief Minister. He received a total of 197 votes while 186 votes are required for a simple majority. Since these 25 provincial members are no longer part of the House, Hamza has lost his majority.

Article 63-A: Supreme Court says dissident lawmakers  vote cannot be counted

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday, while announcing opinion in the presidential reference seeking interpretation of Article 63(A), said that the vote of dissident party members will not be counted.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by CJP Bandial, and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhel had reserved the judgement.

While giving its oponion, the top court remarked that the article concerned cannot be interpreted alone. The opinion was given by the Supreme Court in a 3-2 ratio. Justice Mando Khel and Justice Mazhar Alam of the five-member bench disagreed.

Chief Justice Omar Ata Bandial, Justice Ejaz-ul-Haq and Justice Muneeb Akhtar said that the vote cast by the defecting member should not be counted while Justice Mazhar Alam Mian Khel and Justice Mandokhel disagreed.

It may be recalled that Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Mian Khel, Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Jamal Mandokhel were part of the larger bench. Chief Justice of Pakistan Omar Ata Bandial has said that a detailed decision will be issued later.

The apex court further stated that the parliament should legislate to decide on the issue of disqualification of dissident lawmakers. However, the court sent back the question to the President seeking disqualification of dissident members for life. The Court observed that it is the right time for the parliament to go for legislation regarding the time period of disqualification of a dissident lawmaker.

The top court opinion said that deviation is tantamount to weakening the political party and Article 63A protects political parties in the political arena. The court said that the purpose of Article 63A is to prevent defections in the party and Parliament should legislate in this regard, it is time to legislate on dissident members.

The Reference

Former PTI-led government had approached the SC for clarity on Article 63(A) as several PTI lawmakers were likely to vote on the no-trust motion against then prime minister Imran Khan, in a violation of the party policy.

In the reference, the government sought the apex court’s opinion on interpretations of Article 63(A) and which one should be adopted and implemented.

What was asked in presidential reference?

1. Whether defected members cannot be prevented from vote under Article 63(A) for violating party policy?

2. Will the vote of defected members can be counted or not?

3. Whether those who go against the party policy will be disqualified for life-time or not?

4. What is the period of disqualification under Article 63(A)?

Elahi hails ECP decision to de-seat dissident lawmakers

Reacting on the decsion of ECP regarding the deviant Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Members of Punjab Assembly (MPAs), Pervaiz Elahi said ECP’s decision is a lesson for people who change loyalties.

"First of all, I would like to thank the Almighty. Thanks to our team of lawyers and Chief Election Commissioner, who played key role to save the democracy," he said.