PML-N sets bar high for ticket aspirants.
ISLAMABAD -- Deviating from its highly publicised policy, the form for PML-N's ticket application asks all prospective candidates to declare that they fulfill all eligibility criteria laid down in Articles 62 and 63.
Not long ago, the PML-N leaders were strongly opposing implementing these two articles of the Constitution, indicating that the party would get Articles 62 and 63 repealed.
It is, therefore, ironic that the same party's ticket application forms compel all candidates to meet the same criteria for qualifying for the N-League's ticket.
Soon after his disqualification, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N leadership had harshly criticized these laws and vocally stated that they had both been misused.
Following confrontation with the judiciary, the N-League indicated that it intended to carry out fresh legislation, repealing these two articles of the Constitution.
PML-N dropped the idea after encountering stiff opposition from mainstream political parties, fearing lack of support. But the ruling party did insist that these articles needed to be amended.
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The declaration in the form read: 'I repose full confidence in the leadership of PML-N's Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. I declare under oath that I will ... follow party discipline in case of being awarded/not awarded party ticket.
'I declare that I meet the desired criteria laid down in Article 62 of the Constitution ...and that I do not fall under any category to be disqualified from becoming member national/ provincial assembly in the light of Article 63 or any law presently in effect'.
The nomination form was recently issued by the party's president, Shehbaz Sharif.
A PML-N leader, who is close to the former PM, said that the ticket application form had been prepared on the directions of Shehbaz Sharif and the elder brother had practically no role in this regard.
'After his disqualification, he (Nawaz Sharif) assigned the party's affairs to Shehbaz (and now) Mian sahib hardly takes interest in such matters,' he said.
The oath of fealty was included in the wake of current defections in PML-N.
Another PML-N leader, who is among dissidents said to be in touch with PTI, said: 'The elder brother slams Articles 62 and 63 and the younger brother has made these articles part of party's ticket application form. This demonstrates an internal rift in the party. This deviation from stated policies happened once the decision making shifted from the elder to younger Sharif. PML-N leaders are unnerved by defections and they are trying to ensure that candidates remain loyal to the party.'
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PML-N president's trusted confidante and Punjab's Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said: 'There is nothing unusual in the party's ticket application form. Political parties seek similar declarations from their candidates. This is a continuation of past practices. Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif are our leaders and we do not need to swear in this regard. It is just a formality for the ticket application form.'
Article 62 (1) (f) reads, 'A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless- he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law-'
Article 63 (1) (g) reads, 'A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if:- he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction for propagating any opinion, or acting in any manner, prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan'
The PML-N fixed Rs50,000 ticket fee for National Assembly (general), Rs100,000 for NA (reserved), Rs30,000 for provincial assembly (general) and Rs75,000 for provincial assembly (reserved) seats. Ticket applications could be submitted between May 15 and May 25.