While defending a reference filed against her disqualification from vice-presidentship of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz before Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister submitted that no constitutional provision and Election Act 2017 debar a convicted person from holding political party office.
Appearing before a three-member bench of the ECP led by Chief Election Commissioner Justice retired Sardar Muhammad Raza, comprising Justice retired Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi and Mrs. Justice retired Irshad Qaiser on Tuesday, legal team of advocate Supreme Court Barrister Zafarullah including advocates High Court Umer Sajjad Chaven and Sharafat Ali Chaudhry urged the Commission to dismiss reference against Maryam Nawaz on the grounds of maintainability.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif approved on May 3 key changes in the party’s structure, including his niece and daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, as vice president of the party, who is among 16 vice presidents, a step taken for the first time by the party leadership.
Member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Maleeka Ali Bokhari had challenged appointment of Maryam Nawaz as vice president of the PML-N before the ECP. After admitting the plea for hearing on May 28, the ECP had issued notices to Maryam Nawaz for June 25.
Among other points of law, legal team of Maryam Nawaz expressed in the reply of the reference that political process has been enshrined in the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and Article 17(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 saying all the instruments provide guarantee for right to participate in political process and form a political party.
Maryam Nawaz further submitted through the counsels, “During dictatorships, there used to be a clause in Political Parties Order 2002 that barred a convict from holding a party position. The Parliament had done away with this clause in Election Act 2017.”
Raising a number of objections over the reference against her, Maryam Nawaz submitted, “It is a settled law that only an aggrieved person to knock at the door of ECP. The Petitioners have no locus standi to file the instant Petition, as the Petitioner is not an aggrieved party”.
Substantiating her stance that reference in hand against her is not maintainable and should be dismissed with cost; Maryam Nawaz said that the ECP has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the current matter, adding the reference was filed against her with mala fide and ulterior motives. She further claimed that Maleeka Ali Bokhari has invoked the ECP jurisdiction of the Commission with unclean hands as she failed to disclose any right, relevant law or even equity in favour of her. Later, the ECP adjourned hearing of the matter till July 4.
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