LAHORE - Jurists say Sardar Ayyaz Sadiq stood “divested” of his chair as Speaker and a member of parliament the moment Election Tribunal declared the election null and void and sought fresh polls in NA-122 Lahore.

They, however speaking on a technical subtlety add the tribunal did not disqualify Sardar Ayaz which would have favoured his rival Imran Khan with victory.

Rather the tribunal has ordered fresh elections in the said constituency, which means the rigging in the elections came through irregularities on the part of the election machinery wherein it was hard to determine who was at the loss and who got the benefit.

After defeating Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq in the legal battle at the tribunal level, the case of Sardar Sadiq is second big blow to PML-N within last four months.

In respect of political repercussions, the fresh one is more severe although, in view of the legal experts, the relief of stay by the Supreme Court against tribunal decision is also available to Sardar Ayyaz.

As it was previously allowed to Khwaja Saad, who is still working as Railways Minister, Sardar Ayyaz may also be let continue as Speaker by virtue of his membership in the assembly, yet his office will remain under shadow of the judicial proceedings.

The decision has infused vigour and spirit in PTI that had its heart in the boot following adverse decision by the Judicial Commission and six defeats the party faced in short successions in by-election held after the terminated Islambad sit-in that ended last December.

Ashtar Ausaf Ali, senior aide to PM on Law, and former Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum have shared a common view that Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has lost the assembly membership. However, Ayaz can retain the office if the SC grants him stay on appeal against the decision.

As to unseating Sardar Ayaz, they say it has to come through a process that will be initiated by the Tribunal and end up at notification by the Election Commission to declaring his NA seat vacant and by elections on it within 60 days.

Ashtar Ausaf says Sarar Ayaz has 30 days under the law to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court. He said the membership of anyone comes under shadows if one’s election is questioned before the judicial forum and Ayaz Sadiq case will also stand in the same stead although SC can allow him interim stay against the operation of Tribunal decision.

He agreed that the SC would prefer to expeditious hearing of the cases of the PML-N leaders not to let the dust on their electoral status remain settled for long.

As to the appeal, Ashtar says Ayaz may go for availing this option as his Constitutional right, as continuation of the judicial proceedings of the case and also following consistency when other of his party men have taken to this course. Ashtar however raised a question whether Imran Khan would be able to contest the fresh contest in the same constituency when he is already holding assembly membership.

Former Justice Malik Qayyum said that Ayaz Sadiq stands instantly ousted from the parliament with the decision on his election. However, notification by the Election Commission on receiving certified copy from the decision from the Tribunal is a routine and purports unseating the winner for the sake of holding fresh election in compliance with the Tribunal direction. He said in the absence of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker will take over his office till an elected one comes to the chair. As to the question who will deal with the resignation affair of the MQM, he said, Deputy Speaker under the Constitution is quite competent to take up the matter of MQM resignations. As to any impact being cast on the Judicial Commission findings on election rigging after Tribunal decision, he said, the former judged case whether any systematic rigging took place in the last election on the basis of evidence while the tribunal judged the case on the legal and the constitutional yardstick as well as on the ground of Peoples Representatives Act.

Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddiq says if by-election took place in NA-122, Imran Khan would not be able to contest election without surrendering his present seat. However, he said, had the Tribunal sought re-poll Khan had to be inevitably contest the polls as the decision did not change composition of election accept getting repetition of the polling. But in the instant case, he view, anyone instead of Khan can contest the election as the Tribunal has sought by election.

The jurists have raised another proposition that whether the House will need to reelect Ayaz Sadiq as Speaker if SC in appeal restored him as member. They say election comes through the public vote whereas speaker is elected by the Assembly. The second matter was not before the tribunal. As such if Ayaz is restored as member Assembly would it also automatically put him back to the speakership or new vote by the House will require, may emerge as another debatable proposition, they add.