ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday postponed till September 3 its verdict on a petition challenging the appointment of Maryam Nawaz as the vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the grounds that she was a convicted person.
Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan remarked that the commission needed further guidance on the Supreme Court’s verdict on holding a party position and imposition of Articles 62 and 63.
A three-member bench of headed by the chief election commissioner heard the petition.
In May, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted an application to the ECP challenging the PML-N decision to appoint Maryam Nawaz Sharif as one of the party’s 16 vice-presidents.
According to the PTI’s application, filed by Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Bukhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar at the ECP, the appointment of Maryam as PML-N’s vice president was contrary to the constitution.
“Maryam Nawaz has been declared disqualified for any political or public office,” maintained the ruling party in the application.
The petition further read her that Maryam was sentenced to seven years in prison for abetting her father Nawaz Sharif after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” by an accountability court on July 6, 2018 in a corruption case, Avenfield reference, filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in view of the Supreme Court’s orders.
The PTI maintained that Maryam holding a party position was in violation of Article-62 and Article-63 of the constitution as she was a convict.
In June, Maryam in a written reply to the ECP stated that there was no restriction in the constitution and the Election Act that barred a convicted individual from holding a party post.
“Such laws were made during dictatorships to bar the nomination of the public representatives,” she wrote.
“There was a clause in Political Parties Order 2002, according to which a sentenced man cannot hold a party position. The parliament had abolished this clause in Election Act 2017.”
She said the Supreme Court’s orders were related to the party’s head while she [Maryam Nawaz] was not head of the party. The head of a party has a constitutional role but the vice president does not. She stated the apex court’s orders that resulted in the removal of Nawaz Sharif as the PML-N chief did not apply to her.
She further wrote that the ECP was not bound by the Supreme Court’s orders and the other respondents were not affected in the case. She requested that the petition be declared non-hearable and dismissed.
K-P LG laws
The ECP has also directed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa advocate general to notify the amendments to the province’s local government laws by September 12.
The advocate general sought more time from the commission to issue the notification. The chief election commissioner told him that the delay would put further burden on the ECP.
ECP member Irshad Qaiser said the tenure of K-P’s local bodies was expiring on Wednesday (today) and the commission would start the process of delimitation of LG constituencies in the province.
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