PTI Punjab dissidents reject party response over declaration

ISLAMABAD   –  Dissident members rejected the response submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in case of declaration against them under Article 63-A.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, Shah Muhammad Jatoi and Nisar Ahmed Durrani heard the case of PTI Punjab dissident members.

Lawyer Salman Akram Raja, representing rebel lawmakers, said that Aleem Khan had not received show cause notice and added that the show cause notice should have been issued by the Party Chairman under Article 63-A, which was not done. The lawyer told ECP that the candidate of Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was not a member of PTI parliamentary party nor even a member of their political party. Salman Akram Raja said, “The members have joined a political party but they are not slave”, adding that how could they be dictated by PTI Chairman Imran Khan to vote in favour of any outsider. He said that submitted record had shown that no direction was issued by the Parliamentary Party regarding voting, but the reference made before ECP stated that the declaration against Member Punjab Assembly Aleem Khan was sent by Imran Khan with all relevant records. He asked why the party Chairperson Imran Khan was hesitant to submit his affidavit against rebel lawmkaers, because the false affidavit had consequences. Salman Akram Raja said that show cause of April 16 issued by the party had not been received by Aleem Khan. He said PTI could not present any evidence of the show cause before the bench. He said that there was no proof of allegations against Aleem Khan.

The ECP member asked that if the member of a party was not directed by the parliamentary party then how would he will be free to vote whoever he wants. Shehzad Shaukat, the lawyer of a dissident member, said that it could not be possible for the parliamentary head to give direction to the members although according to the constitution the parliamentary party could give direction to the party members. He asked why no reference had been made against those members who might not cast their vote in favour of PML-Q leader Parvez Elahi, who was nominated by Imran Khan for the Chief Ministership, adding this was not the violation of Khan’s direction, he said.

The bench member asked if the direction of a party head was not for those members who did not cast their vote? The counsel for the rebel member said that there was no meeting held by the parliamentary party, if held then present the minutes before the commission. The PTI lawyer submitted a fresh affidavit with a signed copy before the commission. It must be noted that the ECP had directed PTI to submit a signed written reply and Imran Khan’s affidavit at the last hearing.

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