ECP reserves verdict in PML-Q intra-party polls case

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday reserved its verdict in a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain against the efforts being made from within his party to remove him from his seat and holding of intra-party elections.

A five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the petition.

Speaking on the occasion, Advocate Umar Aslam, counsel for Chaudhry Shujaat said that a person ceased to be the party president only in two cases: either he resigned or died.

He argued that the ECP could listen to the party president case since it fell in its jurisdiction. “Only the Central Working Committee is authorized to take disciplinary action against any office-bearer of the party,” he said, adding, “In the case of PML-Q, the committee has not been constituted from the word ‘go’. In this situation, how on earth could the party’s election commission came into existence?”

Advocate Aslam accused defendants, led by Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, in the case of occupying the party’s Punjab office. “We are being denied access to the party’s record by the same group,” he alleged.

He went on to add that the defendants had said that 83 members of the PML-Q had attended the committee’s meeting which had decided to strip Chaudhry Shujaat of his post. “But the question is whether the dissident group submitted to the ECP the list of these 83 members,” he asked.

Later talking to the media outside the ECP’s office, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, son of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, said that his father would accept the verdict of the election commission.

“Our doors are open for everyone because neither is there any ‘ego’ in politics nor is there anything final,” he remarked.

PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had approached the ECP following a faction of the party, led by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, held a meeting in Lahore at which they dismissed both Shujaat and Tariq Bashir Cheema from their posts in the party.

The group had also announced the intra-party elections.

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