ECP to hear PTI petition against Maryam today

Published: June 16, 2019
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A file photo of Maryam Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: RIAZ AHMED/EXPRESS

A file photo of Maryam Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: RIAZ AHMED/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will hear the petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for disqualification of Maryam Nawaz as the vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz today (Monday).

Notices have been issued in this regard.

A three-member ECP bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan, will hear the petition filed by parliamentary secretaries Farrukh Habib, Malika Bukhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar.

As per the petition, the PML-N’s decision to keep Maryam as the party’s vice president goes against the law and the Constitution.

“The Constitution has deemed that those who have been convicted of certain class of offences must be prohibited from being part of the parliamentary, legislative and political process. Respondent no.1’s [Maryam Nawaz] notification as vice president of the PML-N flies in the face of the constitutional intent and must be set aside. It would be paradoxical if office-bearers that were to regulate the members of the political party did not have to meet the qualifications under the Constitution,” it reads.

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It says that Ms Nawaz as vice president of the PML-N would have a significant role to perform not only in relation to ensuring the party’s adherence to the law and Constitution, but would also exercise influence, power and control over the functions of the party, step in as the acting president should the president be absent or ill, and wield immense political power vicariously.

It stresses that an office-bearer of a political party is not an empty title, and instead the Commission trusts them to ensure that the political party and its members will adhere to the dictates of the Elections Act, 2017. It would be mockery of the law and morality that an office which has such an important role to play in the activities of a political party could be held by someone who is disqualified under the constitution for being not “sadiq” and “ameen”, it adds.

It says that the respondent has consistently been using the platform of PML-N as a political weapon to relentlessly spread hatred against the superior judiciary and other state institutions, and to undermine and ridicule these institutions in the eyes of the public. Such conduct is contrary to Article 62(1)(g) read with Article 5 of the Constitution, as maligning the institutions of the State is no different from maligning the State, which in itself is an act against the integrity of Pakistan.

In a major party reshuffle in May, Maryam was made one of the 16 vice presidents of the party along with Hamza Shehbaz, who is the current Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was appointed as the senior vice president, while Ahsan Iqbal was made the general secretary.

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