Pak govt moves SC against ‘cancerous practice of defection’

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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on Monday, through a presidential reference in the Supreme Court (SC), asked “what measures and steps could be taken with existing constitutional and legal framework to curb, deter and eradicate the cancerous practice of defection, floor crossing and vote buying”, The Express Tribune reported.

The reference, drafted by Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, further prayed that only those who learn lessons from their mistakes could progress while the complacent were doomed.

“It was barely a year ago in the wake of elections for the Senate that compelling evidence in the form of audio and video recordings showing horse trading emerged leaving the identities of perpetrators in no doubt yet nothing meaningful has been done in that respect till date,” it stated.

“While all other disqualifications enumerated in Article 63 have limited and measurable consequence, the damage caused to the democratic process and polity by defectors is not only immeasurable but constantly recurring as one defection rewarded by fresh election is a self-feeding menace,” the reference read.

Therefore; the reference added, the “most suitable and appropriate disqualification for a declared defector is disqualification for life as provided under Article 62(1)(f). Such members must never be allowed to return to parliament nor their tainted votes be counted in any constitutional or democratic exercise”.

“That if the constitutional disapproval and prohibition against defection is effectively enforced with deterrence for future as well, many such members shall stand disqualified for life under Article 62(1)(f) and will never be able to pollute democratic streams. Such a robust and purpose oriented interpretation of Articles 62 and 63A by this Hon’ble Court would advance a highly desirable constitutional goal by shutting the doors of Parliament for habitual turncoats who have converted the honourable, elevated and trustworthy status of a Member of Parliament or Provincial Assembly into a tradable commodity eternally soliciting highest bidders,” it added.

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