ECP rejects Khan’s reference seeking to de-seat MNA Ayesha Gulalai

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday rejected a reference filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against MNA Ayesha Gulalai seeking to deseat the lawmaker for violation of party rules.
Khan in his reference claimed that Gulalai had violated party laws and should be deseated as she had abstained from voting for the PTI’s chosen candidate, Sheikh Rasheed, for the office of prime minister after the ouster of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif on July 28.
The PTI’s lawyer, during an earlier hearing, said that Gulalai had violated party laws by abstaining from the vote although she was present at a meeting in which the party had decided to field Rasheed as its candidate for the post of PM, and Khan had notified all party members to support the Awami Muslim League chief.
Gulalai, however, claimed that she had not participated in the vote due to an illness, but the PTI’s lawyer presented a record of television talk shows on which she had appeared at the time of the session to speak about her decision to leave the PTI.
Khan’s reference against Gulalai followed a flurry of scathing allegations levelled against the PTI chief and other top PTI leaders by the lawmaker on Aug 1, when she announced her exit from the party.
Gulalai made the announcement moments before the election of a new prime minister, citing “ill-treatment” of women in the party as the reason behind her decision. She had claimed that she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.
The ECP in its short order today announced the decision was taken in favour of Gulalai by a 3-2 majority of the five-member bench headed by the Chief Election Commissioner hearing the reference.
The members of Balochistan and Punjab dissented with the majority opinion, whereas the CEC, and the members of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa maintained that there was no violation of party rules on Gulalai’s part.
Subsequently, Gulalai will remain a member of the National Assembly.
Prior to her resignation Gulalai, who is a former PPP member, had been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Imran Khan, often featuring in prime time talkshows to defend party policies.

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