Imran moves Pakistan’s top court to impose lifetime ban on defecting PTI lawmakers - GulfToday

Imran moves Pakistan’s top court to impose lifetime ban on defecting PTI lawmakers


Supporters of PTI carry placards in support of Imran Khan during the first public gathering after he was ousted from the parliament, in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday night. Reuters

Tariq Butt, Correspondent / IANS

Former prime minister Imran Khan has moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking disqualification of dissident Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Members of the National Assembly, media reports said.

The petition lists the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Law Secretary, and the Cabinet Secretary as parties, and has been filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution which states that for the apex court to have jurisdiction on a matter, the matter needs to be of public importance and a violation of fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution, Express Tribune reported.

The petition requested that the dissident PTI members should be disqualified from parliamentary affairs for life and that if any member wants to leave the party they must resign as members of the NA first "instead of committing defection as provided in Article 63-A of the Constitution by changing his loyalty in favour of another political party actuated by hidden motive."

It stated that shifting loyalties meant that the individual was no longer "sadiq and amin (truthful and honest)."

The petition further claimed that the votes cast by dissident PTI members in the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan should not be counted.

ImranPTI-jalsa Imran Khan looks on as he arrives to deliver a speech to PTI supporters during a public rally in Peshawar. AFP

"Being an elected representative (it) is constitutionally prohibited and morally reprehensible to refrain from act of defection (against their parliamentary party), and the member cannot claimed a vested right to have his vote counted... and such tainted votes are to be excluded from the vote count," the petition reads, Express Tribune reported.

It stated that there was no reason for the dissident party members to not be banned for life.

"This honourable court has observed in many cases that defection or floor crossing is nothing short of a disease of cancer to the entire body of politics and it destroys the spirit of democratic governance," the petition said, adding that this justified a lifetime ban, the report said.

123 PTI lawmakers’ resignations accepted

The resignations of 123 Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) including that of Imran Khan belonging to PTI have been accepted.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, hailing from the PTI, accepted these resignations and the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat issued the relevant notification declaring that the seats of 123 MNAs have become vacant.

Of them, ninety-four members were directly elected and the vacancies caused by their resignations would be filled up through direct by-elections. The remaining 29 MNAs were indirectly elected.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is informed about the resignation of any number of MPs so that it can prepare to hold by-polls to fill such seats. However, never in Pakistan’s history have such a large number of by-elections been held.

The primary objective of the PTI’s resignations was to create a crisis for the new government and force it to call for fresh parliamentary polls.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced that his party would not be part of the present National Assembly and did not accept what he dubs as the imported government of Shahbaz Sharif. It demands immediate fresh general elections.

Opposition leader and former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had warned the deputy speaker not to resort to any illegal act by accepting the resignations of any PTI MNAs. He said that Suri was deliberating delaying the resumption of the National Assembly session.

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