ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Legal and political experts are divided over the fate of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq if he appeals Punjab election tribunal’s announcement of re-election in NA 122.

Some legal experts opine that Ayaz can “continue as both MNA and National Assembly speaker if get SC stay order” while the other viewed that “he can only continue as a member of the National Assembly.

Two major opposition parties, including PPP and MQM, are of the view that the Supreme Court would take the final decision on the matter.

Ayaz told the media in Lahore he would challenge the election tribunal decision.

Under the procedure, Ayaz would most likely get a stay at the moment the Supreme Court accepts his appeal.

Former Supreme Court Bar Association President Kamran Murtaza said, “As Speaker Office was considered an impartial and ‘respectable’ office. So, morally Ayaz Sadiq should not continue even if he gets stay order from the Supreme Court ."

"Legally speaking, Ayaz as MNA has been unseated after the decision of election tribunal and consequently, Speaker office will fall vacant,” he said adding that Ayaz Sadiq as Speaker will be restored till the moment he would get stay order.

He also said that it was possible that he would get stay order before being de-notified. “But I think morally he should not continue as Speaker till the final decision of his case, “ he said. He viewed that the government had the majority and the treasury benches could easily elected new Speaker.

Spokesperson to Chairman Imran Khan and MNA Dr Shireen Mazari said that it was Ayaz Sadiq’ right to get stay but politically and morally it was not viable for him to continue.

“After the decision of election tribunal, it will be difficult for Ayaz Sadiq to run the Lower House,” she said. Responding a question whether PTI would resist in the house if Ayaz Sadiq continued as Speaker after a stay order from court, she said that the decision would be taken after consultations with the party leadership.

Former Election Commission secretary Kanwar Dilshad while talking to The Nation said that constitutionally Ayaz would not be able to continue as speaker even if he would get stay order. “Even if he gets stay order from the apex court to stay as MNA but he will no more remain as Speaker,” he said adding that Speaker was a constitutional post. He has to get fresh mandate from the 342-member house.

Dr Khalid Ranja said if Supreme Court suspended order of election tribunal, then Ayaz Sadiq would both continue as MNA as well as Speaker. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) believed that final decision on the issue would come from the Supreme Court .

“Everyone has equal right to go in court and he (Ayaz Sadiq) is also intending to challenge his case in the apex court,” PPP’s Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said while talking to The Nation. Sherry Rehman further said there was need to respect and wait for the decision of apex court in Ayaz Sadiq's case. “Apex court decision should be respected,” she added.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) says SC verdict will decide the fate of Ayaz Sadiq. “Ball is now in the court of Supreme Court as Ayaz Sadiq has announced to challenge the decision,” MQM’s MNA Ali Raza Abidi.

He added that rigging in election had not proved so he (Ayaz Sadiq) had still right to challenge it. “This is not the final verdict...Its fate might also be same as the case of Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique,” said Abidi, who recently tendered resignation from NA along with his other party members.

The election tribunal decision also has an implication about who will preside over the national assembly till a new speaker is elected. It will be a tough job for the incumbent government to decide the name of next Speaker in case Ayaz Sadiq is not able to continue.

Sardar Ayaz stood “divested” of his chair as speaker and a member of parliament following the election tribunal order of re-election in NA-122, said noted legal experts Ashtar Ausaf Ali and Malik Muhammad Qayyum.

They, however, say election tribunal did not disqualify Sardar Ayaz, rather, it ordered fresh elections in the constituency.

“The decision means the rigging in elections came through irregularities on the part of the election machinery. It is hard to determine who was at the loss and who got the benefit,” the jurist opined.