Ayesha Gulalai to remain MNA after ECP dismisses Imran Khan's reference

Asiya Ansar

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) dismissed on Tuesday the disqualification reference filed against estranged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member and MNA Ayesha Gulalai. 

Gulalai will remain a member of the National Assembly from PTI.

Sources said that in the short-order, two members of the five-member ECP bench, from Punjab and Balochistan, have authored a dissenting note in the judgment. 

Speaking to the media, Gulalai thanked her counsel and the respected members of the ECP. 

“I would not have threatened the ECP even if the decision was against me,” she said, referring to PTI chairman’s frequent criticism of the ECP.

She also criticised Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan — where state institutions are verbally attacked regularly.

Ayesha Gulalai addressing the media on Tuesday. Photo: Geo News

Continuing her tirade against Imran, she said the PTI chief forcefully wants to impose his decision on state institutions.

"If Niazi Sb brings people out on the streets then I will come out on Parade Ground too to protect those state institutions," she asserted.

Gulalai, who hails from South Waziristan, claimed Imran has links with the Taliban, saying, "all other political parties' rallies are attacked by the Taliban but not Imran's...where music is played".

She added that today’s ECP decision is a victory of [PTI member] Fauzia Kasuri and others sidelined by the party.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan had filed the reference against Gulalai, seeking to denotify her from the National Assembly seat.

The lawyers from both sides presented arguments in today’s hearing, where Gulalai was also present.

Imran Khan’s lawyer Sikander Mohmand said that it is the party leadership’s prerogative if they want to take action against someone.

The lawyer said that Gulalai said she couldn’t attend the assembly session when the new prime minister was elected due to sickness, but conducted a press conference the same day.

Gulalai’s lawyer, in turn, said that her client’s response to the PTI show cause notice wasn’t accepted.

“The PTI’s stance that it didn’t receive the answer to the show cause notice is incorrect,” said the lawyer.

Gulalai’s statement on record: Imran Khan

Imran Khan, who is currently on a visit to Karachi, stated that Ayesha Gulalai said in front of the media that she will resign from her seat. Whatever she said is on record, Imran said.

The PTI chairman said that the ECP decision is unconstitutional.  

Decision reserved

In the last hearing, the five-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan reserved judgment in the case filed by the PTI chief against Gulalai for defying its orders.

In the previous hearing on Oct 17, Imran’s lawyer reiterated before the commission that Gulalai announced to leave the party and then backtracked from her statement.

“Gulalai leaving the party but not leaving assembly membership is not possible as per the party Constitution,” said the lawyer.

Gulalai’s lawyer barrister Masroor rejected PTI accusations and said that expressing the desire to leave the party and actually resigning are not the same thing.

Gulalai never tendered her resignation to the party and said that she isn’t leaving PTI in National Assembly, Masroor said.

The reference

On August 28, Imran Khan had sent a notice to Gulalai stating that she has defected from the party in terms of Article 63 A (1) of the Constitution.

The notice states that Gulalai on August 1 publically resigned from the party, did not vote for the party’s designated candidate in the prime minister’s elections.

Gulalai announced to quit the party in early August after levelling allegations of harassment and corruption against the PTI chief.