HYDERABAD: A petition seeking disqualification of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution has been filed in the Sindh High Court (SHC).
The Hyderabad circuit bench on Tuesday issued notices to the defendants, including Sindh's governor and chief minister, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chairman, PPP chairperson, and Durrani.
The petitioners cited Durrani's comments in a video recording that became viral on social media, in which he arguably violated the sanctity of the vote.
"Maan vote jo wasto na rakhando ahyan. Maan muttaan vote khe. Maan muttando ahyan vote khe [I don't make relations with people for the sake of vote. I pee on vote. I pee on vote]," Durrani says in the video.
The petitioners said the video has hurt the whole nation and demotivated the people from participating in the electoral process.
They argued that the attitude of the elected representatives is one of the reasons why voters do not turn up in the general elections.
They compared the voters' turnout in India and Bangladesh with Pakistan to contend that the latter's has remained lower due to reasons, including the officials' attitude.
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"Pakistan ranks among the bottom four countries in terms of the voter turnout [at 164th place among 169 countries]," they stated, citing NADRA and ECP as the source. They referred to ECP's recently published booklet according to which Pakistan's average turnout is 45.3%.
"When the ECP, political parties and civil society are making efforts for the mobilisation of voters...the abusive language used against them by elected representatives cause a heavy blow to these efforts," they maintained.
The petition also mentions an alleged telephone conversation between Durrani and a journalist where the former is heard threatening the latter with consequences since he has published news of the video.
They said Durrani has also violated Articles 25 and 113 of the Constitution. They requested the court to declare the words uttered by Durrani 'immoral, non-righteous and undemocratic'.
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They also requested the SHC to disqualify Durrani from the Sindh Assembly and to instruct district election commissioner of Shikarpur to issue a disqualification notice against him.
They prayed that the court order the PPP chairperson to cancel Durrani's party membership and to restrain him from holding the office of speaker of the Sindh Assembly.
The petitioners include a former union council chairperson, Ali Nawaz, rights activist and writer Zulfiqar Halepoto and two women rights activists, Seema Naz and Ruksana Kausar.
The court fixed the hearing for October 20.