Monday February 06, 2023

PMLN senator proposes ban on contesting more than two seats

January 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Irfan Siddiqui has proposed an amendment to the election laws to impose a ban on people from contesting polls from more than two seats.

A proposal seeking an amendment to the Representation of the Peoples Act has been formally sent to party president and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Siddiqui told reporters on Wednesday. He referred to the existing laws having no bar on candidates contesting any number of seats and said that the misuse of legal provisions must end. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s move to contest seven seats in the National Assembly in last year’s by-elections put a question mark on the continuation of the provision.

Senator Siddiqui also stated that if the candidates continue to benefit from the provision and contest from more than two seats by the existing laws, they should be obligated to bear the cost of holding by-elections on all vacated seats. He drew attention to a recent statement of PTI leader Imran Khan that Imran Khan would be contesting from all seats of the National Assembly in by-elections and said: “This is not less than making a mockery of the law and the Constitution.” According to the senator, the state would have spent at least Rs 30 billion holding by-elections on the five seats Khan decides to resign from.

Talking to reporters at his office, Siddiqui mentioned the Indian laws and said no candidate contested more than three seats until 1996. The election commission, litigation, and public pressure led India to impose a ban on candidates from contesting more than two seats. India had amended its laws 27 years ago, he said. Even though people have been protesting the law for the past 10 years, the Indian election authorities and the law commission have stated that a candidate should only be allowed to run for one seat.