Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's lawyer on Tuesday argued before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that MNA Ayesha Gulalai had violated party laws and therefore, should be deseated.
A five-member bench of the ECP, headed by the chief election commissioner (CEC), was conducting a hearing on a reference filed by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq for deseating the former PTI member. The reference was filed after Imran declared Gulalai a defector and wrote to the NA speaker and the CEC, seeking commencement of the process for her disqualification.
During the hearing, Advocate Sikander Mohmand stated before the ECP that Gulalai had gained membership to the NA not by contesting elections but after being nominated by Imran for a reserved seat.
The lawyer added that Gulalai had violated party laws by abstaining from voting for PTI’s designated candidate in the elections for the office of prime minister, which were held after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court.
The lawyer told the bench that on July 29 ─ a day after Nawaz was ousted ─ a PTI session was held at Imran's Bani Gala residence where it was decided that the party would field Sheikh Rasheed as its candidate for the prime minister's office. Advocate Sikander said that Gulalai was present during the session.
Stating that Imran had also notified all party members of the decision to support Rasheed, the lawyer presented before the ECP an affidavit signed by PTI's chief whip in the National Assembly Shireen Mazari attesting to the same.
In a previous hearing of the case, Gulalai had said that she had not participated in the voting process for the prime minister in the National Assembly due to illness.
Refuting Gulalai's statement, the lawyer presented before the ECP a record of television talk shows that the former PTI member had appeared on at the time of the NA session to speak about her decision to leave the PTI.
On August 1, Gulalai had announced her exit from the party amid a flurry of scathing allegations against Imran Khan and other top party members.
Gulalai made the announcement moments before the election of a new prime minister, citing "ill-treatment" of women in the party as the reason behind her decision. She had claimed that she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.
Prior to her resignation Gulalai, who is a former PPP member, had been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Imran Khan, often featuring in prime time talkshows to defend party policies.