Sattar challenges ECP’s role in intra-party matters

Urges the polls supervisory body to dismiss applications filed against him by rival faction


Irfan Ghauri March 01, 2018
Faisal Subzwari cries as he and Mayor Wasim Akhtar come face to face with Farooq Sattar, who is heading the PIB Colony faction. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the PIB-faction of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P), Dr Farooq Sattar, has submitted a reply to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), challenging the commission’s jurisdiction in intra-party matters and urging it to dismiss applications filed against him.

The MQM-P’s Bahadurabad faction in their petitions had challenged Dr Farooq Sattar’s election as the convener of the party and claimed that the MQM-P Rabita Committee has replaced him with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

In his reply, Sattar said the ECP does not have authority to intervene in intra-party rifts, adding that both the petitions are related to the party’s internal conflicts. The statement urged the polls supervisory body to resolve the matter according to the party’s constitution.

“[The ECP as a] constitutional forum has been granted executive and administrative powers to organise and conduct elections pursuant to the Constitution and the Elections Act 2017 but has not been vested with ad-judiciary powers to resolve internal disputes of political parties,” he said.

Citing Article 17 of the MQM-P constitution, he said: “If a party member has any complaint against an office bearer, he may submit the complaint in writing to the committee which shall then constitute a sub-committee to investigate.”

Sattar wins intra-party elections

His letter quoted a previous judgment of the Supreme Court which held that in case of organisational structural disputes of a political party, the ECP has the authority to ask the parties to get the dispute in relation to party head resolved through civil proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction.

During the hearing at the ECP in Islamabad, Barrister Farogh Naseem of the Bahadurabad-group argued that the ECP is not a post office and has the jurisdiction to resolve matters pertaining to intra-party conflicts. Quoting a 1999 SC ruling, he said the ECP is also a court hence it has the authority.

Terming Sattar’s intra-party elections illegal, Naseem further added that in the party’s constitution the power to call general workers meeting rested with the Rabita Committee and not the convener or deputy convener. The ECP will continue hearing arguments from both sides today [Friday].

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