Friday, February 24, 2023

ECP denotifies Imran Khan from six NA seats

PTI chief won seven seats in October by-elections last year; poll authority allows Khan to keep NA-45 constituency

PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures as he addresses supporters during a rally, in Lahore, on April 21, 2022. — Reuters
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures as he addresses supporters during a rally, in Lahore, on April 21, 2022. — Reuters

  • Poll authority allows Khan to keep NA-45 constituency.
  • Denotification of 32 PTI MNAs from Punjab suspended.
  • PTI chief won seven seats in October by-polls last year.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Friday denotified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan from six National Assembly seats — on which he emerged victorious last year.

The electoral authority, in a notification, stated that the former prime minister — who was ousted from power last year — had been de-notified from his seats in NA 22 Mardan, NA 24 Charsadda, NA 31 Peshawar, NA 108, NA 118 Nankana and NA 239 Karachi.

Earlier, on January 19, a three-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, announced its verdict to notify the PTI chief of his victory on seven seats in the by-elections held in October last year.

The notification had previously been withheld due to his alleged failure to submit the party’s funding details to the electoral body. However, the January 19 verdict stated that Khan had submitted the required details to the electoral body after which it decided to notify him as the winning candidate on all the seven NA seats.

After his de-notification from the six earlier seats, Khan now holds the Kurram seat, for which he may take oath and join the NA.

Denotification of 32 PTI MNAs from Punjab suspended

In a separate notification, the election commission also suspended its denotification announcement of 32 PTI MNAs. Following the ouster of Khan from the government, PTI lawmakers resigned en masse from the NA.

At first, the resignations of only 11 MNAs were accepted by NA speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf. However, on January 17 and January 20, the resignations of 34 and 35 more PTI MNAs were accepted respectively.

Several MNAs then withdrew their resignations and requested the speaker not to accept them. However, on January 25, the NA speaker accepted the last batch of resignations.

Subsequently, the 43 MNAs took their grievance to the Lahore High Court (LHC), which on February 8 suspended the ECP's orders.

Later, several other PTI MNAs approached the LHC for similar relief. The court, however, only instructed the ECP to suspend the denotification of PTI MNAs from Punjab.

The ECP statement issued today said that the electoral body was suspending its notifications from January 17, 20, 27, and February 3 to "the extent of the following constituencies/reserved seats falling in the province of Punjab".

The statement said that the notification of denotification of 27 members on general seats from Punjab had been suspended, along with the notification to denotify five women members from Punjab.

The commission would also delay holding elections for these seats until further guidance from the LHC, the statement mentioned.

The women MNAs whose denotification notice has been suspended include Aliya Hamza Malik, Kanwal Shauzab, Andleeb Abbas, Asma Hadeed and Maleeka Ali Bukhari.

Moreover, the denotification notices of Sadaqat Ali Khan, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Aamer Mehmood Kiani, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Fawad Chaudhry, and Syed Faiz Ul Hassan have also been suspended.