Constitution doesn’t bar convicted person from holding party post, Maryam tells ECP


–PML-N VP says petitioners have no locus standi to seek her disqualification 


ISLAMABAD: Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday said there are no clauses in the constitutions as well as Elections Act 2017 that bar a convicted person from holding a post in a political party.

She was defending against a reference seeking her disqualification from the vice presidentship of the PML-N in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Appearing before a three-member bench of the ECP led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza and comprising Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi and Irshad Qaiser, Maryam’s legal team headed by Barrister Zafarullah urged the ECP to dismiss the reference against Maryam on the grounds of maintainability.

Maryam Nawaz further submitted through the counsels, “During dictatorships, there used to be a clause in Political Parties Order 2002 that barred a convict from holding a party position. The parliament had done away with this clause in Election Act 2017.”

Raising a number of objections over the reference against her, she submitted, “It is a settled law that only an aggrieved person can knock at the door of the ECP. The petitioners have no locus standi to file the instant petition, as they are an aggrieved party”.

Her legal team said the provisions of Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, and Article 17(2) of the constitution provide a guarantee for the right to participate in the political process and form a political party.

Substantiating further, the defence counsels said that the ECP has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the current matter, adding the reference was filed against her with mala fide and ulterior motives.

The ECP adjourned the hearing of the matter till July 4.

The former first daughter, who is out on bail in the Avenfield case, became a vice president of the PML-N in a major reshuffle in May this year, approved by President Shehbaz Sharif.

Member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Maleeka Ali Bokhari had challenged appointment of Maryam Nawaz as vice president of the PML-N before the ECP. After admitting the plea for hearing on May 28, the ECP had issued notices to Maryam Nawaz for June 25.