PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s speaker over a petition filed by imprisoned MPA-elect Baldev Kumar, who claimed that despite the court’s order, he was not allowed to take the oath of his office.

On the other hand, Mr Kumar was not brought to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly though the speaker had issued production order for the purpose.

The treasury and opposition members staged a walkout against the inclusion of oath-taking of the minority MPA-elect in the agenda.

Baldev Kumar in custody over CM adviser’s killing not brought to house despite production order

Mr Kumar was arrested in 2016 in connection with the killing of adviser to the chief minister Sardar Soran Singh.

The Election Commission of Pakistan declared him a returned candidate on the seat, which had fallen vacant after Sardar Soran’s killing, as he was on Serial No 2 on the priority list of the candidates submitted by the ruling PTI for seats reserved for minorities.

During Friday’s hearing in the high court, Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan issued a notice to assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar asking him to explain why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him.

The bench fixed Mar 6 for the next hearing directing the speaker to file reply to the contempt petition.

Mohib Jan Salarzai, lawyer for the petitioner, requested the bench to stay the Senate polls in KP Assembly scheduled to be held on Saturday (today).

The bench however issued a notice to the speaker and five MPAs, who are respondents in the petition, asking them to explain why the Senate polls may not be suspended.

It also fixed Mar 6 for holding hearing into the stay plea.

The petitioner’s counsel told Dawn that once the polling took place on Saturday, it was not clear if the court would suspend the entire electoral exercise on Mar 6.

He told the bench that on Feb 8, the high court had ordered the speaker to call the petitioner from prison and administer the oath to him.

The lawyer, however, said when the petitioner was taken to the assembly on Feb 27, some members didn’t allow him to take the oath.

He said the respondents, including the assembly’s speaker, were deliberately avoiding adherence to the court’s order.

PA SESSION: Soon after the recitation from the Holy Quran in the provincial assembly, Speaker Asad Qaisar called the name of Baldev Kumar three times for oath-taking as an MPA.

However, Mr Kumar was not present in the house.

After the chair called Mr Kumar, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Mehmood Jan took the floor on a point of order and objected to the inclusion of the detained MPA-elect in the assembly’s business.

He said Baldev Kumar was a ‘murderer’ and therefore, he would not let him take the oath.

Mr Jan said the jailed minority MPA-elect was not only involved in the murder of his colleague Sardar Soran Singh but he had also committed contempt of the house.

The other MPAs also joined the chorus, saying they will stage a walkout if Mr Kumar is brought to the house.

A lawmaker of the Pakistan People’s Party pointed out a lack of quorum forcing the speaker to read out the order for the session’s prorogation.

PTI MPA Shaukat Yousafzai said Speaker Asad Qaisar had issued a production order for Mr Kumar at 9:30am on Friday but the officials didn’t hand him over to the sergeant-at-arms.

He said the speaker had fulfilled his constitutional formalities to enable Mr Kumar to take the oath.

Despite repeated contacts, home and tribal affairs secretary Ikramullah Khan wasn’t available to explain reasons for non-compliance with the speaker’s production order.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2018

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