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ECP dismisses PTI reference against dissident MNAs

ECP dismisses PTI reference against dissident MNAs

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reserved its judgement on a plea by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking the disqualification of 20 members of the National Assembly (MNAs).

A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja heard the reference against dissident MNAs. During the hearing, the electoral body rejected the request to accept any more records from PTI.

PTI’s lawyer Faisal Chaudhry requested the court to provide a copy of the reserved verdict, saying that he will appeal against it. He maintained that the dissidents had opposed PTI’s request to provide more records.

“Some things couldn’t be brought on record properly,” Faisal said. He said that he believes that he is no more needed and that his case has become biased.

While presenting his arguments, Noor Alam Khan’s lawyer Gohar Khan maintained that Article 63(A)1 does not apply to Noor. “The show-cause notice issued by the PTI secretary-general doesn’t have a legal status. Therefore, Noor is still a PTI member,” Gohar argued.

He informed ECP that Noor had stated in response to PTI’s show-cause notice that he has neither left PTI or its parliamentary party.

He said that the party responded to the reply with directives not to vote on the no-confidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan. “This proves that the party recognised Noor as its member,” Gohar said.

The counsel went on to say that Noor attended the meeting on April 3 as per the party’s directives to ensure attendance. After this, the party didn’t issue any other directive restricting Noor from attending its meetings.

Gohar contended that his client didn’t join any other political party but media gave an impression that Noor violated the party policy. When asked if Noor cast a vote on the day of voting on the no-confidence motion, Gohar responded in the negative.

Meanwhile, ECP bench member Nasir Durrani inquired how it was concluded that only a five-member bench of the Commission can announce the verdict.

At this, Gohar replied that the Supreme Court has declared that only a full court of ECP can announce a verdict in a disqualification case. With this, Gohar completed his arguments.

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