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Speaker rejects Pakistan PM’s disqualification ref

The Speaker of Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday rejected a reference that sought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification for allegedly lying to the National Assembly about seeking military’s help to end anti-government protests.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq dismissed the reference and refused to forward it to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for a decision.

“Reference being legally and factually baseless does not result in any disqualification under Article 63(2) of the constitution and therefore, I decline to refer it the ECP,” he said.

Advocate Azhar Siddique had filed the reference seeking ouster of Sharif under Article 63 (2) of the Constitution for misleading the parliament about his request to army chief General Raheel Sharif to defuse political tension due to protests by Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri.

It was alleged that after making a false statement Sharif was disqualified under Article 62.

Under article 62 and 63, a person known as ‘not being righteous and honest’ cannot hold a public office.

The army, after Prime Minister Sharif’s denial, had issued a statement that he had in fact sought help from them to bring an end to protests by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of Imran Khan and Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

Imran wanted the Prime Minister to quit alleging rigging in last year’s poll, which brought Sharif to power, while Qadri sought his resignation to start a revolution in the country.

The Speaker also said that under Article 66 (1) of the Constitution, any statement by a member of sitting Parliament calls for an internal proceeding.

It also provides complete protection to lawmakers from any proceeding for anything said by him in parliament, he said.

Separately, the Supreme Court hearing a petition to disqualify Sharif on the same grounds adjourned the hearing till October 15.