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Govt to approach Supreme Court to seek clarity on Article 63(A): Fawad Chaudhry

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  • Fawad Chaudhry says SC will be requested to hear case daily.
  • PM Imran Khan says will take decisions to curb horse-trading.
  • He rules out “minus one”policy to save PTI govt.

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to approach the Supreme Court for interpretation of Article 63-A as several PTI lawmakers have announced to vote on the no-trust motion, in a violation of the party policy, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Friday.

The decision was taken during a consultative meeting of the PTI’s political committee held today with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

The meeting was convened to discuss the legal options available to act against the disgruntled lawmakers and counter the Opposition’s move to dislodge the government of Imran Khan.

It came to light Thursday that around 24 PTI MNAs were residing at the Sindh House in Islamabad — and some of them had publicly announced to go against the party.

Hours later, the prime minister called a meeting of the senior party leadership and directed National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the disgruntled members.

In a series of tweets today, Fawad Chaudhry said the government would file a petition under Article 186 of the Constitution to seek the interpretation of Article 63-A.

“… we will seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation as to what will be the standing of a party member’s vote who is found in violation of the party’s policy and is involved in horsetrading,” the federal minister said.

The information minister said the government would seek the apex court’s guidance on whether a person, who shifts loyalty for monetary benefit, should be ineligible for a lifetime for becoming a lawmaker or whether they could contest polls again and be elected to parliament.

“The Supreme Court will be requested to hear the case on a daily basis,” he said.

The prime minister, according to sources, assigned the responsibility for filing the reference in the apex court to PTI Additional Secretary Amir Mahmood Kiani and Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.

“We will take such decisions that no one will be able to indulge in horsetrading next  time,” the prime minister told the participants.

The premier also directed the PTI leaders present in the meeting to ramp up the preparations for the March 27 rally — where the ruling party plans on gathering one million people, a day before the voting on the no-trust motion.

“All the lawmakers and party members should participate,” he said.

“No matter how much money they spend to remove me, I will fight them,” he said.

‘Will not impose governor’s rule in Sindh’

Moreover, the prime minister, according to sources, decided against taking extreme measures and announced that the federal government will not impose the governor’s rule in Sindh.

‘We will not impose governor’s rule in Sindh,” he said.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed had a day earlier proposed the premier take the step in order to stop “horsetrading” taking place at the Sindh House.

During the meeting, the majority of the participants opposed the move after the interior minister presented a summary in this regard.

“Only two federal ministers backed the idea,” sources said.

The PM, however, directed to deliberate further on the issue, saying the situation will deteriorate further by imposing the governor’s rule.

‘No minus one’

PM Imran Khan also said that some people were talking about a “minus one” policy.

“This cannot happen in any scenario.”

“Fortunately, they are requesting […] this will boost our morale,” he said, after MQM-P and PML-Q proposed a “minus Imran Khan” formula in a bid to save the PTI-led government.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Elections

Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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