Members of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday submitted a formal petition to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the recent appointment of Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, as vice president of the PML-N.
Last week, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif approved major changes to the party's structure, including Maryam's appointment as vice president of the party — among a list of 16 vice presidents — for the first time.
The petition was submitted by MNAs Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar.
As per the petition, the appointment of Maryam as PML-N vice president is in conflict with the law and the Constitution. It also covered the legal basis under which Maryam is ineligible to hold public office and includes a detailed mention of court decisions.
In July 2018, an accountability court announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference, sentencing Maryam to seven years for abetment after she was found "instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father" and one year for non-cooperation with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). She was disqualified from contesting polls after being convicted.
However, in January, the apex court upheld an Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict that had ordered the suspension of prison sentences awarded to Maryam and her father.
The petition submitted to ECP today said that an accountability court "declared the PML-N leader to be ineligible for public office" and added that a party position is not in private capacity. It stated that political parties have an influence on the entire political system and claimed that in the void of a party president, Maryam will use the elected president's authority.
In their petition, the PTI MNAs asked how it was possible that members of the assembly fully abide by Article 62 and Article 63 of the Constitution, but the "people who control them don't".
It added that the Supreme Court had disqualified her father, Nawaz Sharif, from his party position as well and said that the ECP should declare her appointment to be null and void.
While speaking to media after submitting the petition to the ECP, Habib said that there was a lack of leadership in the PML-N and added that they [PML-N] wanted the law of Raiwind to be enforced in Pakistan.
"Panama 'rani' cannot keep the position of the vice president," he said, adding that "forceful test tube leadership" was trying to be enforced.
He said that at every step of the way, the Sharif family had faced defeat.
Following Maryam's appointment, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had termed it as illegal and said it portrayed the dictatorial mindset of that [PML-N] party.