ISLAMABAD: Twenty five 25 PTI dissidents in the Punjab Assembly, in their replies to the Election Commission of Pakistan to the declaration of defection, raised mostly technicalities, insisting that the spirit behind Article 63-A of the Constitution must not be defeated.
The PTI legislators in their replies, available to this correspondent, tried to take cover under the related technicalities to escape from the election commissionâ€™s punitive action with reference to the declaration while they tried to justify their voting in favour of PMLNâ€™s nominee Hamza Shehbaz. They attempted to establish having been given no party directions about voting. They also opted to raise procedural objections and claimed to have never been issued or received any show-cause notices.
Senator Barrister Ali Zafar, who represented the PTI before the ECPâ€™s three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, contended the necessary ingredients of the constitutional violation under Article 63-A are that there must be a party direction on how to vote in an election of a chief minister and then the member of that political party voting contrary to the direction. If this were to happen the crime is complete and the party head can declare that its member has defected.
Senator Ali Zafar contended that the election commission could only examine if these two ingredients were fulfilled and then it must confirm the party head’s declaration and in this case, the directions were issued, all the MPAs have admitted that they have voted against the directions and the whole nation also saw this.
He maintained that technicalities, being mentioned by the respondents regarding the show cause notices, procedure were not valid.
The ECP bench adjourned the hearing until Monday directing signed submission of signed copies of response to the replies by respondents and an affidavit by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.Meanwhile, in their replies, the lawmakers questioned the validity of the issuance of declaration of defection and the related procedure adopted citing Article 63-A.
Senior ex-minister Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI said there is a clear distinction between the party head and the parliamentary party and the Constitution does not permit a party head to act as a dictator, he claimed.
He denied having ever been issued or received a show cause notice, referring to the ECP record and called the issuance of the declaration of defection on April 18 an afterthought. The PTI leader also pointed out that in the absence of parliamentary party meeting, no direction was issued in respect of the election of the chief minister.