Published On: Wed, Sep 18th, 2019
Published in Category: Politics

ECP dismisses petition seeking disqualification of Maryam Nawaz Sharif from party office

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking the disqualification of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif from holding party office.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif can stay on as vice president of the PML-N, the verdict of the election commission of Pakistan said. A three-member bench of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan had earlier reserved the verdict in the disqualification on Monday.

Election Commission of Pakistan has ruled that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz is eligible to hold office of Vice President of the party. The ECP has issued short verdict and detailed judgment will be issued later on.

The ECP ruled that Maryam, who is currently in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) physical remand, cannot be appointed as the acting president of the party and that she should not accept any functional party position.

PTI leaders Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Ali Bukhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar had submitted a petition to the Election Commission seeking removal of Maryam Nawaz as Vice President of the party on the grounds that she had been convicted by a court of law in a corruption case.

Reacting to the ECP’s ruling, PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PTI had gone to the ECP with the petition for “cheap publicity”.

“Maryam Nawaz does not require any position or designation to help the people of Pakistan,” she said, adding: “Maryam’s services for the restoration of the Constitution and law is not hidden from anyone […] she stayed behind for five years and worked on health and education along with [former prime minister] Nawaz Sharif.”

The party spokesperson said that the current government does “small things” like the petition for which they had received a response from the election commission today.

Meanwhile, Maryam’s lawyer Barrister Zafarullah Khan said that there was no such condition in Pakistani law that restricted an individual from holding a party position.

While speaking to the media, he said that Maryam Nawaz will remain vice president of PML-N as the ECP had disposed of PTI’s petition.

In their petition, the PTI lawmakers contended that Maryam could not hold any party position as she was convicted by a court of law on July 6, 2018, in a corruption case (Avenfield reference), filed by NAB.

The ECP had on Monday reserved its judgment in the case for the second time. It had first reserved it on Aug 1 and had set Aug 27 as the date for its pronouncement. But in an unusual move, the commission deferred the judgment, asking the counsel for both sides to assist it on whether or not the bar on a convict from holding office of the president of a political party also applies to the vice president, in the light of a recent judgment of the Supreme Court.

On Monday, PTI’s counsel Hassan Maan had argued that Section 203 of the Elections Act should be read with Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Alluding to Jehangir Tareen’s case, he said a PTI lawmaker from Punjab lost his party position on the basis of the same principle which barred disqualified leaders from holding any party office.

Meanwhile, the PML-N lawyer said some political parties were headed by their presidents while others were headed by chairmen or emirs. He said that the individuals with authority mattered, pointing out that vice presidents did not have any power.

He said the Supreme Court’s judgment also specifically mentioned party heads and asked the ECP to dismiss the petition filed by the PTI lawmakers.

On May 4, Maryam was appointed as one of the vice-presidents of the PML-N along with 15 other leaders, day after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif stepped down as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

According to notification issued from London, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been appointed senior vice president of the party while Ahsan Iqbal had been made general secretary.

Party vice president include Maryam Nawaz, Abid Sher Ali, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Barjees Tashir, Darshan Lal, Hamza Shehbaz, Khawaja Saad rafique, Khurram Dastagir, Mian Javed Latif, Muhammad Zubair, Mushahidullah Khan, Nelson Azeem, Pervaiz Rasheed, Raheela Durrani, Rana Tanveer and Sardar Mehtab.

Former finance minister Ishaq Dar had been given the responsibility of president International Affairs Committee, while Noorul Hassan Tanveer had been appointed general secretary International Affairs Committee.

President Shahbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ishaq Dar had also been made members of the PML-N Economic Advisory Council and Marriyum Aurangzeb had been retained as secretary information and spokesperson of the Party.