ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday asked Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party's (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai to submit a reply in response to an application seeking his disqualification as member of Parliament for speaking against the armed forces and security agencies.

Waheed Kamal, a social activist, had filed the application with ECP seeking Achakzai's disqualification.

An ECP bench, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan, heard the petition and issued a notice to Achakzai.

The chief of PkMAP has been asked to submit a reply by September 1.

The election commission also sought comments from the National Assembly's Speaker Office with reference to Achakzai's speech. Comments sought are to gauge whether the words of PkMAP leader were within the parliamentary and Constitutional parameters or not.

The applicant was of the view that under article 19 of the Constitution, armed forces cannot be criticised.

“Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, [commission of] or incitement to an offence.” — Article 19, Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The petition stated Achakzai had tried to malign the armed forces and security agencies of the country and also harmed the unity of the state by terming Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as part of Afghanistan, the applicant held.

It is pertinent to mention that Mehmood Khan Achakzai during his speech in National Assembly termed the Quetta attack an intelligence failure and demanded of the government to fix the responsibility of the blast.

Achakzai alleged that intelligence agencies are busy in gathering information about the activities of politicians while terrorists are free to move anywhere.

The PkMAP chief also asked the prime minister to sack officers from the security and intelligence agencies if they fail to trace out the elements involved in the deadly Quetta attack.

He was of the view that the government should look into the failure of its own departments instead of blaming India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for terrorist attacks in the country.



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