The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced that the 25 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPAs who voted for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Hamza Shahbaz in the elections for chief minister of Punjab will be de-seated over defection.
The decision was announced today (Friday) and comes three days after the Supreme Court issued its verdict on a presidential reference seeking its interpretation of Article 63-A, announcing that the votes of dissident lawmakers could not be counted in the case of a vote of no confidence.
The reference against the defectors was sent by Speaker of the National Assembly Pervaiz Elahi, and was accepted by the ECP today, officially de-seating the MPAs in question.
The dissident lawmakers include Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Mohammad Ajmal, Abdul Aleem Khan, Nazir Ahmed Chohan, Mohammad Amin Zulqernain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Mohammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmed Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Mohammad Tahir, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Haroon Imran Gill, Uzma Kardar, Malik Asad Ali, Ijaz Masih, Mohammad Sabtain Raza, Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Mehar Mohammad Aslam and Faisal Hayat.
The 25 de-seated MPAs had voted in favor of Hamza Shahbaz during the elections for chief minister of Punjab, earning him a majority with 197 votes, significantly more than the required 186 votes. However, as the PTI lawmakers have now been de-seated and are no longer members of the house, their votes can no longer be considered, causing Hamza to lose his majority.
The MPAs in question had denied ‘horse-trading’ and justified their votes by saying that they had not been given any clear directives by the PTI.
However, PTI’s counsel, Barrister Ali Zafar had argued that not only had PTI Secretary General Asad Umar issued a letter containing directives, but the party’s chief whip in the Punjab Assembly had also issued these instructions.