Thursday Feb 22, 2018
ISLAMABAD: In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's verdict disqualifying deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the party chief, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said the party's nominees can contest the upcoming Senate polls as independent candidates.
The apex court announced its verdict on petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017 on Wednesday, ruling that a person disqualified under Article 62 and 63 cannot serve as the head of a political party.
The decision by the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar is being considered as another blow to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N). As a result of the verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president were declared null and void.
The decision was taken by the ECP during a special session called by the chief election commissioner, who had also taken the chair of the session. The body acted under instructions from the apex court.
PML-N's Raja Zafarul Haq had earlier today issued new tickets to the party’s candidates for the Senate polls, but the tickets were rejected by the ECP in the decision taken during the special session.
The election body further said that Senate polls will be held as per schedule.
PML-N's candidate contesting the upcoming PP-30 Sargodha by-polls was also declared as independent.
The decision to issue new tickets was taken during a PML-N meeting, following which party chairman Senator Raja Zafarul Haq visited the ECP and signed the forms of candidates.
Elections Act 2017 was pushed through the upper and lower houses of the parliament earlier and had paved the way for Nawaz to resume his position as party president after being disqualified in the Panama Papers case.
The verdict announced earlier also ruled that “all steps taken, orders passed, directions given and documents issued, by Nawaz after the July 28 verdict will be deemed to be nullified".
As a consequence, Senate tickets distributed by Nawaz also stood null and void.
The ECP had also removed Nawaz's name as the party president following the apex court's verdict. The electoral body added that Nawaz's name shall be deemed to have been removed as party president from its election record from July 28, 2017.