–Party to issue show-cause notices to accused MPAs; decides to take matter to NAB
–PTI chairman challenges other parties to oust their corrupt members
–Five provincial lawmakers reject allegations; say they are ready to satisfy party in any way
ISLAMABAD: In a historical first, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has decided to expel his party’s 20 MPAs belonging to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) if they failed to give a satisfactory response to the show-cause notices which are to be issued to them over alleged horse-trading in the Senate polls.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Imran Khan revealed the names of his party’s MPAs in the KP Assembly who were found involved in horse-trading in the Senate elections last month.
The party members who have been confirmed to be involved in horse trading include Deena Naaz, Nargis Ali, Nagina Khan, Sardar Idrees, Obaid Mayar, Zahid Durrani, Fouzia Bibi, Naseem Hayat, Qurban Khan, Arif Yousaf, among others.
Imran said that a charge sheet will be issued to the lawmakers to seek an explanation of their actions, adding that their names will also be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
“The investigation committee will give proofs to NAB on how these lawmakers were bribed,” the PTI chief said, adding that the decision is an action which is “truly protecting the sanctity of the vote”, and challenged other political parties to follow suit.
“Our recommendations were ignored when we tried to get parliamentary electoral reforms for Senate. The prime minister says that Senate elections were rigged and money was used but didn’t he know that before,” lashed out Imran.
The PTI chief stated that he was letting go of nearly 30 per cent of its leaders. “This is not the first time lawmakers have taken part in horse trading,” said Imran. “This has been happening for the past 30 or 40 years.”
He further revealed that the accused legislators had received Rs40 million each and praised those who had “resisted the temptation” of pocketing the money offered as bribe to them.
Imran said that nobody else took any action against those who were guilty of buying and selling votes during the Senate elections.
Out of the total 20 MPAs, seven of them are women of which five were elected to the provincial assembly as candidates of PTI on reserved seats in general elections. One Khatoon Bibi was elected on a reserved seat as a candidate of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJI) – which later merged into PTI – while Meraj Hamayun was elected as an MPA from the platform of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), but she later joined PTI.
Out of the total MPAs named by the PTI chief, some have already left and joined other political parties.
The list includes female PTI MPAs including Nargis Ali from Abbottabad, Deena Naaz from Karak, Nagina Khan from Malakand, Fouzia Bibi from Chitral and Naseem Hayat from Peshawar.
The defecting male MPAs include Sardar Idrees of Abbottabad, Obaid Mayar and Zahid Durrani from Mardan, Abdul Haq from Kohistan, Qurban Khan from Nowshera, Amjid Afridi from Kohat, Arif Yousaf, Javed Nasim, and Yasin Khalil from Peshawar, Faisal Zaman from Haripur and Sami Alizai, who was elected from DI Khan.
MPA Meraj Hamayun was elected to the seat of QWP but later joined PTI, while Khatoon Bibi and Babar Saleem were elected as MPAs from Swabi from the platform of AJI. MPA Babar Saleem recently parted ways with the PTI and joined the PML-N in a public gathering in Peshawar, which was addressed by Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam.
Another MPA Wajihuz Zaman, who won the election in 2013 on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket, was dismissed from PML-N on disciplinary grounds after allegedly having sold his vote during the March 2015 Senate elections. He later joined PTI and, in yet another ignominious twist, left it on March 31 to join Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
Furthermore, two PTI MPAs, Nargis Ali and Nagina Khan, have reportedly been involved in selling their development funds to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) MPA from Lakki Marwat.
MPA Deena Naz Khattak parted ways with PTI a few days ago and joined Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), pleading that PTI Chairman Imran Khan and KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak ignored Karak and didn’t visit the underdeveloped district.
Similarly, MPA Javed Nasim, who has been at odds with the PTI for several years, announced joining PML-Q.
MPAs REJECT ALLEGATIONS
Meanwhile, five PTI MPAs have rejected allegations of selling their votes in the Senate elections saying that they were ready to satisfy the party in any way.
Speaking to a local news outlet, MPA Arif Yousuf, who is also a special assistant to CM Pervez Khattak for law, said he has not sold his vote and cannot even think of it. He added that he was ready for whatever way Imran Khan chooses to verify it.
Yousuf said that he would respond to the show cause notice by the party, adding that he was a PTI worker and will remain so. He added that the inquiry conducted into the matter wasn’t adequate and he was not called and inquired about.
MPA Yaseen Khalil said he had been astounded to have heard of his name among the ones selling their votes. He said that his name was included in the list as part of a conspiracy and his stance was not sought.
Khalil said that to avoid such allegations, he had asked the chief minister for not polling his ballot, but Khattak asked party members to cast their votes.
Obaid Mayar, PTI MPA from Mardan, denied having received money from anyone for his vote. He said that if there was any evidence then it should be brought forth, adding that action against him was illogical.
PTI TO HAVE HARD TIME PROVING CASE IN COURT
On the other hand, Supreme Court (SC) Advocate Irfan Qadir, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that if NAB finds that the complaint was frivolous and had been filed with intent to malign or defame any person, NAB may refer the matter to the court. “If the complainant is found guilty, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or may be fined or both.”
Advocate Qadir cited a judgment by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar whereby he had declared that any lapse in truthfulness will turn a person ‘not Sadiq and Amin’ and thus will result in disqualification. “Thus, the sword will hang on Imran Khan’s head,” he said.
Meanwhile, SC Advocate and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice President Kamran Murtaza, while praising Imran Khan’s decision, said that it would be exceptionally hard for PTI to prove their case in a court of law. “We know for whom they didn’t vote, we also know for whom they did vote. What we don’t know is how the deal was made, from where the money came, where did it go and how many people were involved in it. It is very difficult to prove such things in a court,” he said.
He also questioned whether NAB had the jurisdiction to inquire the matter.
PBC Member Azam Nazeer Tarar suggested referring the matter to FIA and other anti-corruption watchdogs before extending the matter to NAB.
With additional input by Hamid Khan Wazir