Cabinet passes ordinance to de-seat MPs-elect

Elected representatives will stand disqualified if they fail to take oath within 60 days of poll

Our Correspondent April 10, 2021


The federal cabinet on Friday passed an ordinance amending the Election Act 2017, making it mandatory for elected representatives to take oath within 60 days after the poll to avoid being disqualified.

The ordinance will come into effect after President Arif Alvi signs it.

The ordinance will apply to the national and provincial assemblies, the Senate, and local bodies.

After the ordinance comes into force, the parliamentary memberships of Punjab Assembly lawmaker Chaudhry Nisar and Senator Ishaq Dar are likely to end.

PML-N leader and former finance minister Dar has not taken his oath of office after being elected to the Senate.

Similarly, Nisar, an estranged PML-N leader and former interior minister, has also not taken oath as a member of the Punjab Assembly since his election.

Read more: Cabinet approves end to tax breaks

Dar has been absconding court proceedings since 2017 following the registration of reference against him. Later, NAB confiscated his various bank accounts worth Rs500 million and his house, spread over four kanals and seven marlas in Gulberg, Lahore.

He was declared an absconder by the Supreme Court in 2017, when he failed to appear before it since he was in London, allegedly undergoing medical treatment.

In May 2018, the top court suspended Dar's Senate membership.

Dar, a close aide of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in a BBC interview a few months ago, denied the charges against him.

He claimed that he only owned a single property, which was his sole residence in Pakistan.

The PML-N leader said he was living in the UK due to medical reasons and could not return to Pakistan because he was still suffering.

After he denied allegations of corruption against him and boasted of a clean tax record, host Stephen Sackur asked him point-blank how many properties he and his family owned.

When pushed by the host, Dar conceded thst he owned one property that was his only residence.

Separately, Nisar has held the stance that taking oath as member of the Punjab Assembly would mean that he had accepted the results of the 2018 general elections.

The former interior minister contested the general elections for two National Assembly and two provincial assembly seats, losing all except the PA-10 constituency. He, however, did not take oath and his status was challenged in court.

The petitioner urged the court to set aside relevant rules of the Punjab Assembly for not applying a time limit for parliamentarians-elect to take oath of their office.

He contended that Nisar had not taken oath and pleaded such an act amounted to depriving people of the constituency of their right to representation.

He further submitted the former interior minister was elected as MPA from PP-10 Chakri but he had not taken oath of his office despite the lapse of more than six months.

He argued the act of the respondent was tantamount to breaching the sacred trust of the people of his constituency and a violation of Article 2-A, 17 and 25 of the Constitution.

The petitioner further contended that rule 6 of rules of procedure and conduct of business in provincial assembly regarding the extent of not providing a time limit for taking oath were also ultra vires of the Constitution.

He asked the court to declare the impugned rules of the assembly null and void for not carrying a time frame of oath taking, de-notify Nisar for failure to take oath and order a fresh election in the constituency.


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