ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan rejected on Friday interim relief sought by Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan (MQM-P)'s Bahadurabad faction in petitions filed against Dr Farooq Sattar.
The commission resumed hearing pertaining to petitions filed by Bahadurabad including removal of Sattar as convener by two-third majority of the Raabita Committee and replacing him with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and the other challenges February 18 intra-party elections held under the leadership of Sattar – an election that he won by a heavy margin, becoming the party convener.
During the proceedings, Barrister Farogh Naseem of the Bahadurabad faction requested the commission to clear confusion on the party chief issue.
However, the commission observed that since Sattar had challenged the jurisdiction of ECP in his reply to the notice, it could not pass any orders until that matter was resolved.
Naseem then urged the ECP for interim relief by temporarily suspending both Sattar and Siddiqui as convener and allow MQM-P lawmakers to cast their votes as per their discretion in the upcoming Senate elections.
Reflecting on the Sattar-led group’s intra-party elections, Naseem informed the court that the party’s constitution outlined that intra-party elections were to be held every four years. He pointed out that since the party held elections in 2016, they will not due until 2020.
Sattar challenges ECP’s role in intra-party matters
On March 1, Sattar had submitted a reply to the ECP where he challenged the commission’s jurisdiction in intra-party matters and urging it to dismiss applications filed against him.
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.
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.
ECP de-seats Manzoor Khan Kakar
Meanwhile, the ECP disqualified Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party MPA Manzoor Khan Kakar on a petition filed by the party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai.
Achakzai moved ECP to de-seat the MPA after he violated party discipline by voting against the candidate in elections for chief minister Balochistan. PK-MAP had first issued a show-cause notice to Kakar.
Kakar was elected as MPA in 2013.