The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) once again 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).
During Wednesday’s hearing, Maryam’s counsel Barrister Zafarullah could not appear before the commission and the associate lawyer requested the court to grant him more time to present arguments in the case.
Chief Election Commission (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza, who was heading the three-judge bench, said that although the bench had decided to close the case on September 3, they were accepting the associate lawyer’s request.
The bench directed the lawyer to complete his arguments in the case in the next hearing on September 11.
Although the court had reserved its verdict in the case on August 1, during the last hearing on August 27, the bench sought the help of legal counsels from both sides on understanding the Supreme Court (SC) 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 was appointed as a vice president of the party in a major reshuffle this year.