Members’ loyalty basic right of every party: CJP Bandial

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Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial (CJP) on Tuesday observed that the loyalty of members was a basic right of political parties.

“It is the fundamental right of political parties that its members remain loyal to it,” the CJP said while hearing petitions filed by dissident PTI members from the Punjab Assembly, who have challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP’s) decision to disqualify them for defection.

The ECP had disqualified 25 dissident MPAs of the PTI on May 20 on the grounds that they had voted for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the election for Punjab chief minister against the party line and defected.

The decision had come days after the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) decision on a presidential reference seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A, related to the disqualification of lawmakers over defection.

In its interpretation, the apex court had said that votes cast against party direction “cannot be counted and must be disregarded, and this is so regardless of whether the party head, subsequent to such vote, proceeds to take, or refrains from taking, action that would result in a declaration of defection”. Following these developments, multiple disqualified MPAs had moved the SC against the ECP’s decision. Their pleas were clubbed together and taken up today by a three-member bench comprising CJP Bandial, Justice Aminuddin Khan and Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar. At the outset of the hearing, a lawyer representing the petitioners argued that the PTI had not issued any instructions regarding the Punjab chief minister’s election.

 

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