Nawaz nominees can contest Senate polls as independents: Election Commission of Pakistan

Special Nawaz nominees can contest Senate polls as independents: Election Commission of Pakistan
In this file photo, a supporter of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) holds a picture of Nawaz Sharif outside the accountability court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Nov. 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Nawaz nominees can contest Senate polls as independents: Election Commission of Pakistan

Nawaz nominees can contest Senate polls as independents: Election Commission of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Thursday that Senate polls will not be delayed and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominees can contest them as independent candidates.
The ECP took the decision in the wake of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on Wednesday in which former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified to lead his political party and all his decisions taken in that capacity since July 28 last year were declared “null and void.”
“All steps taken, orders passed, directions given and documents issued by Nawaz Sharif as party head after his disqualification on July 28, 2017, are declared to have never been taken, passed, given or issued in the eyes of the law,” read the court verdict.
The decision raised multiple questions about the upcoming Senate elections since it was Sharif who had handpicked his party nominees to run in the electoral contest.
In view of the situation, senior PML-N leader, Raja Zafarul Haq, told the ECP that he could re-issue tickets to his party candidates as chairman of the party. However, the ECP rejected this in its decision after deliberating over the issue.
Earlier today, Sharif continued his criticism of the SC, accusing it of snatching parliament’s authority while barring him to lead his own party. In a statement made outside an accountability court, he said that the apex court’s verdict was not an unexpected one for him.
“First they (the court) paralyzed the executive and then they snatched the powers of parliament too,” he said while referring to the SC verdict.
“The verdicts are being announced (against me) in anger and vengeance,” he added. “They are just contemplating ways to disqualify me (from holding any public office) for life.”
Flanked by his daughter Maryam Nawaz and State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry, Sharif said that all the court rulings revolved around him exclusively. He reiterated that the Elections Act 2017 was not person-specific as former prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had drafted the law after which a martial law administrator had struck it down.
“In 2014, all the political parties were behind the making of this law. How can it be person specific,” he wondered, adding that the SC’s decisions, however, was “person-specific.”
“My name is Nawaz Sharif and if you want to snatch that too, do it through an article of the constitution, if there is any,” he dared the court.
“First I was robbed of the premiership and now of leadership to my own party,” he said while defending himself.
Other PML-N leaders were a bit circumspect while directly taking on the apex court of the country. One of the senior party stalwarts, Senator Pervez Rashid, said that PML-N had been implementing the court’s decisions but it was the choice of the people to accept these judgments or reject them.
“People do not accept engineered elections and democracy, and they will vote for the lion (party symbol of PML-N) in 2018 elections,” he said.
Rashid further stated that the people of Pakistan were custodians of democracy and would push back against any undemocratic moves.