On Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan announced to de-seat the 25 dissident PTI members of the Provincial Assembly who had voted against the party’s directions and cast their vote in favor of the election of Hamza Shahbaz as the Chief Minister of Punjab.
The Election Commission had reserved the verdict on 17 May on the reference seeking disqualification of the 25 dissident members of the former ruling party’s provincial members; however, the announcement of the decision was delayed.
The decision was announced by a three-member bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner, Sikander Sultan Raja.
‘The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday de-seated 25 dissident MPAs of the PTI who voted for PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister, stating that they had defected from the party.’https://t.co/pmLq8Z01HZ
— Ilhan Niaz (@IlhanNiaz) May 20, 2022
Pertinent to mention, last month, Hamza Shahbaz won a clear majority in the Punjab Assembly, gathering 197 votes, including votes from the dissident members, in his favor, defeating Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to become the 21st chief minister of the province.
Subsequent to Hamza Shahbaz’s election as the chief minister, PTI sent in a declaration to Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi to declare the 25 dissident members as defectors.
Shortly after, Elahi sent the reference to the ECP and requested it to pronounce the disqualification of the dissident members on the grounds that the members had defected from the party directives.
As the reference was filed before the ECP, the dissident members sought refuge behind technicalities arguing that the spirit of Article 63A should be defended at all costs. They further argued that they had not received any written instructions.
The dissident lawmakers include Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam R
asool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Mohammad Ajmal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Nazir Ahmed Chohan, Mohammad Amin Zulqernain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Mohammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Mohammad Tahir, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Haroon Imran Gill, Uzma Kardar, Malik Asad Ali, Ijaz Masih, Mohammad Sabtain Raza, Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Mehar Mohammad Aslam, and Faisal Hayat.
The ECP decision comes a few days after the apex court’s verdict on the reference seeking interpretation of Article 63-A. According to article 63-A, any member of parliament can be de-seated on the grounds of defection if he/she “votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by the parliamentary party to which he belongs, in relation to election of the prime minister or chief minister; or a vote of confidence or a vote of no-confidence; or a money bill or a Constitution (amendment) bill.”
Reacting to the ECP’s decision, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar congratulated the nation and said, “Today, another chapter of this conspiracy has been exposed.” He further sympathized with the politicians who had invested “millions of rupees in these turncoats.”