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Sattar questions ECP jurisdiction in petitions filed by Bahadurabad-group

ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar submitted his reply to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday in petitions filed by members of the Raabita Committee (RC), urging for the dismissal of applications.
The petitions include removal of Sattar as the convener by two-third majority of the Raabita Committee and replacing him with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the other challenges February 18 intra-party elections held under the leadership of Sattar – an election that he won by a heavy margin, becoming the party convener.
In his reply, Sattar challenged ECP’s jurisdiction, stating that the commission did not have authority to intervene in intra-party rifts. It added that both the petitions were internal conflicts.
The statement urged for the matter to be resolved as per the party’s constitution. It highlighted that the ECP as a “constitutional forum has been granted executive and administrative powers to organise and conduct elections pursuant to the Constitution and the Elections Act 2017 but has not been vested with ad-judiciary powers to resolve internal disputes of political parties.”
Citing Article 17 of the MQM-P constitution, the letter stressed that “if a party member has any complaint against an office bearer, he may submit the complaint in writing to the committee which shall then constitute a sub-committee to investigate.
It quoted a previous judgment by the Supreme Court which held that “in cases of inbuilt organisational structural disputes of the political party” the ECP has the “authority to ask the parties to get the dispute in relation to party head resolved through civil proceedings before a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The reply also claims that the petition filed against Sattar include “factual controversies relating” which require inquiry.
During the hearing at ECP in Islamabad, Barrister Farogh Naseem of the Bahadurabad-group argued that the “ECP is not a post office, it has the jurisdiction to resolve matters pertaining to intra-party conflicts.” Quoting a 1999 SC ruling, he said the ECP was a court hence it had the authority.
Naseem further added that the party constitution the power to call general workers meeting rested with the RC and not convener or deputy convener, terming Sattar’s intra-party elections illegal.
The ECP will continue hearing arguments from both side tomorrow [Friday].

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