Surprising as it may seem, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s candidate for the seat of the deputy chairman in the Senate belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), according to the official record of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Prime Minister Imran Khan nominated on Thursday the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi as the candidate for the post of Senate deputy chairman.
The nomination was made by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz on Twitter, a day ahead of the elections for the posts of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.
Within hours after the announcement, PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah revealed that Afridi belonged to PML-N.
In a tweet, Maryam quipped that the PTI was so obsessed with the PML-N that it ended up fielding a PML-N candidate in the Senate elections.
The information minister, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the PML-N should give vote to Afridi with full confidence if he was a PML-N senator.
The government’s spokesperson said that Afridi was elected as an independent senator and the “defection clause” doesn’t apply on him.
Faraz said that Afridi is a PTI member just like senator Shamim Afridi, who has recently joined the Pakistan Peoples Party after leaving the PML-N.
He said that PTI’s coalition partners have assured full support to the candidates nominated for the Senate elections scheduled for March 12 (today).
The PTI took some time to nominate Fata’s senator as deputy chairman in the Senate elections. However, the ECP record shows that Afridi had formally joined the PML-N after the 2018 Senate elections.
The ECP officials also confirmed that the documents showing Afridi as PML-N senator were authentic and defection clause -- disqualification on grounds of defection, etc., -- of the Constitution applies on a lawmaker in such cases.
The officials, requesting anonymity, said that under Article 63-A, if a member of a parliamentary party composed of a single political party in a house resigns from the membership of his political party or joins another parliamentary party, then he faces defection clause.
Also, it states, if the lawmaker votes or abstains from voting in the house contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which he belongs, in relation to the election of the prime minister or the chief minister; or a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or a Money Bill or a Constitution (Amendment) Bill.
The details emerged after PPP’s MNA Agha Rafiullah showed documents in several talk shows and shared the same with The Express Tribune; sources inside the ECP declared the same as authentic.
“The PTI is a politically inexperienced party and the PPP would continue to expose its mistakes like the one where they managed to nominate a PML-N senator for the Senate elections,” Rafiullah said.
The government-backed candidate has been nominated against JUI-F’s Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, the joint candidate of the opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Senator Afridi was reached to comment on the development but, a man introducing himself as his driver, said that Afridi was busy in a meeting.