ECP to hear plea against Maryam on 27th

Updated May 18, 2019

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The petition contends that by virtue of her conviction the respondent is barred from holding an elected office. — DawnNewsTV/File
The petition contends that by virtue of her conviction the respondent is barred from holding an elected office. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will take up for preliminary hearing on May 27 the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s petition challenging the appointment of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, as vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The petition filed last week by MNAs Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar contends that by virtue of her conviction the respondent is barred from holding an elected office.

“The Constitution has deemed that those who have been convicted of certain class of offences must be prohibited from being part of the parliamentary, legislative and political process. Respondent no.1’s [Maryam Nawaz] notification as vice president of the PML-N flies in the face of the constitutional intent and must be set aside. It would be paradoxical if office-bearers that were to regulate the members of the political party did not have to meet the qualifications under the Constitution,” it reads.

It says that Ms Nawaz as vice president of the PML-N would have a significant role to perform not only in relation to ensuring the party’s adherence to the law and Constitution, but would also exercise influence, power and control over the functions of the party, step in as the acting president should the president be absent or ill, and wield immense political power vicariously.

It stresses that an office-bearer of a political party is not an empty title, and instead the Commission trusts them to ensure that the political party and its members will adhere to the dictates of the Elections Act, 2017. It would be mockery of the law and morality that an office which has such an important role to play in the activities of a political party could be held by someone who is disqualified under the constitution for being not “sadiq” and “ameen”, it adds.

It says that the respondent has consistently been using the platform of PML-N as a political weapon to relentlessly spread hatred against the superior judiciary and other state institutions, and to undermine and ridicule these institutions in the eyes of the public. Such conduct is contrary to Article 62(1)(g) read with Article 5 of the Constitution, as maligning the institutions of the State is no different from maligning the State, which in itself is an act against the integrity of Pakistan.

Commenting on the matter PTI MNA Farrukh Habib said that like Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Maryam Nawaz was also seeking to inherit a political property. He said that she had been convicted by the country’s courts and was not eligible to hold a party position.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2019