ISLAMABAD - Apparently alarmed with the rapid political extinction of his party, the President Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has moved the electoral body against the five Parliamentarians-elect, accusing them of violating their oaths to join PML-N instead of Q-League.

In his letter to the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Shujaat on Thursday demanded action against three returned candidates for the National Assembly and two for the Punjab Assembly. All of them have won the general elections as independent candidates. Shujaat contended that the five candidates had submitted affidavits with the Provincial Election Commissions (PECs) concerned for joining PML-Q, but, they, according to him, acted in violation of the oaths and joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

A copy of the PML-Q President's letter to the CEC has been forwarded each to the Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan and Director General (Elections) Syed Sher Afgan.      

The five returned candidates against whom Shujaat has moved are: Raza Hayat Hiraj who won the election from National Assembly's constituency NA-156 Khanewal-I, Tariq Iqbal Chaudhry (NA-169 Vehari-III), Ashiq Hussain Khan (NA-180 Muzzaffargarh-V, Amir Inayat Khan Shahani (Punjab Assembly's PP-50 Bhakkar-IV) and Amir Talal Khan (PP-261 Muzaffargarh-XI). Talking to this correspondent on Thursday, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said that the five candidates were not fit for becoming Parliamentarians on account of breaching their oaths.

"They violated what they solemnly pledged on oath. They assured us to join PML-Q and submitted related affidavits with the PECs but later joined PML-N out of vested interests. This is dishonesty and it should be taken to task."

Asked what action did he demand of the ECP against the five lawmakers-elect, the PML-Q chief said, "I don't know what the rules say and how the ECP goes about taking them to task. It's the Commission's job to take care of all these things. Dishonest practices should be discouraged."     

When approached, Raza Hayat Hiraj, one of the five candidates-elect, denied having submitted any affidavit with the PEC concerned in favour of PML-Q.

"This is a baseless propaganda. Why would have I submitted an affidavit in PML-Q's favour when I declined its ticket and contested elections in independent capacity? The PML-Q is at the verge of political elimination and its leadership now cries foul as a last resort to save its sinking ship," he said, adding, that he decided to join PML-N "out of free will."

Requesting anonymity, an ECP official informed that the matter pertaining to the row between PML-Q leadership and the five returned candidates would be taken up in an ECP meeting to be chaired by the CEC. The meeting would be scheduled in the coming days, he informed.

Former secretary ECP Kanwar Dilshad said that the Article 62 (1) (f) was generally applicable in case of the submission of oath violations or false affidavits. "It would be difficult for the ECP to initiate any action in the particular matter because the candidates did not contest the general polls on PML-Q ticket. Had they won the elections from the Q-League's platform, they'd have landed in deep trouble in case these candidates were to switch sides. That's not the case here. But generally, Article 62 (1) (f) is applicable."

The said article states, "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 (trustworthy), there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law."

Regarded as Pakistan's political power centre during Musharraf era, the Q-League now struggles for its political survival. In an unprecedented low the party saw since its creation in the year 2001, the Q-league managed to bag only 16 seats in the recently held general elections including eight seats in Punjab Assembly, five in Balochistan Assembly, two in NA and only one seat in Sindh Assembly.

In addition, the electoral body last week had asked those independent candidates who were to join political parties to submit by this Monday the affidavits with the PECs concerned stating that each of them was joining a particular political party "voluntarily and without coercion." Following this, the independent candidates who have joined political parties or intend to join any are submitting their affidavits.