July 14, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
The government has announced that it will proceed with the dissolution of the proscribed Tehrik Labaik Pakistan (TLP) as a political party after the federal cabinet endorsed a ban on the party imposed in April.
The government had placed TLP on the list of banned outfits after three days of violent clashes earlier this year when their leader was arrested. The clashes had caused the deaths of four police officials and injured several others.
Addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference in Islamabad, on July 13, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry announced that the cabinet has decided to keep the ban on TLP in the light of a report by a review panel. The TLP had sought a review of the ban in an appeal to the interior ministry.
The Information Minister had said that the review committee in its report upheld the ban on the proscribed organisation.
“The review committee’s report stated the decision to ban the TLP was based on merit, as the proscribed organisation was blamed for killings and torture of police personnel and arson,” Chaudhary said.
In light of the review committee’s report, the Information Minister said, the federal cabinet decided to keep the ban intact. He announced that the Attorney General and the federal law minister would begin proceedings to dissolve the TLP as a political party and the cancellation of its election symbol.
Reference to Supreme Court
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Kanwar Dilshad, former secretary of the Election Commission, said the federal government had to powers to ban a political party on charges of anti-state activities and terrorism under the Constitution.
“(1) where the Federal Government is satisfied on the basis of a reference from the Commission or information received from any other source that a political party is a foreign-aided political party or has been formed or is operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan or is indulging in terrorism, the Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such declaration. (2) Within fifteen days of making a declaration under sub-section (1), the Government shall refer the matter to the Supreme Court. (3) where the Supreme Court upholds the declaration made against the political party under subsection (1), such political party shall stand dissolved forthwith,” reads Section 212 on the dissolution of a political party of the Election Act 2017.
“The government has to issue a notification in this regard and within 15 days of the notification file a reference with the Supreme Court whose decision on such reference shall be final,” Dilshad said.
Disqualification of members
He said if the Supreme Court upholds the dissolution of the political party in the reference, then the Election Commission will dissolve the political party and cancel its election symbol.
“All elected members of the party in the Senate, National Assembly, and provincial assemblies will stand disqualified,” he added. The dissolved political party and its members would not be able to form another political party or contest elections, he added.
The TLP has three members Muhammad Qasim, elected from PS-115 constituency in Karachi, Muhammad Younus Soomro, elected from PS-107 constituency in Karachi and Sarwat Fatima, elected on a reserved seat for women, in the Sindh Assembly.