ECP seeks more time to decide Maryam’s fate

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–Election watchdog postpones verdict till Sept 3

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday postponed the verdict in the petition against the appointment of Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, as a vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), for want of more information.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan, had reserved its judgement on Aug 1 after hearing arguments in the case.

However, as the hearing went underway on Tuesday, the bench sought the help of legal counsels from both sides on understanding the Supreme Court verdict against Nawaz Sharif in Panama Papers case as well as the workings of Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

The bench, then, announced that the verdict would now be announced on September 3.

On May 3, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif revamped the party, including Maryam’s appointment as vice president of the party — among a list of 16 vice presidents — for the first time.

Subsequently, ruling party MNAs Farrukh Habib, Maleeka Ali Bokhari, Kanwal Shauzab and Javeria Zafar submitted a petition to the ECP challenging the move.

The petition contended that Maryam could not hold any party position as she was convicted by a court of law on July 6, 2018, in Avenfield reference, which was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The election commission on May 27 accepted the petition for hearing.

In her defence, Maryam responded that there were no clauses in the constitutions as well as the Election Act 2017 that bar a convicted person from holding a post in a political party.

Defence counsel Barrister Zafarullah Khan had turned down the petition as non-maintainable, saying that the commission was responsible for holding national elections, not party elections.

“Maryam Nawaz has not been elected for the position of party vice president. Her selection to the position does not affect the rights of any of the petitioners,” the lawyer had said at the time.

Maryam Nawaz was appointed as a vice president of the party in a major reshuffle this year.