ISLAMABAD: Amid strong protest by the opposition, the National Assembly on Monday passed the Elections Bill 2017 paving the way for Nawaz Sharif’s return as party chief.
The Senate has already given a green signal to the bill earlier.
Minister of Law Zahid Hamid presented the bill in the assembly today. After its approval, the only obstacle in Nawaz Sharif’s way to become the president of PML-N has also been removed.
The Bill consolidates eight election laws, which shall stand repealed after its enactment.
It contains numerous electoral reforms including strengthening of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by making it fully independent and autonomous, authorizing the commission to prepare Action Plan six months before the elections, delimit constituencies after every census, enrolling citizens automatically as voters who obtains CNIC from NADRA and etc.
Meanwhile, members of the opposition chanted slogans against the bill aimed at benefitting one person, Nawaz Sharif. The parliamentarians belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf protested in front of the NA Speaker’s desk and tore the copies apart.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s amendments to the bill were also rejected.
After the passage of this bill, a disqualified person could also head the party. Under the Political Parties Order 2002, a disqualified lawmaker cannot hold any office in a political party.
The Supreme Court on 28 July disqualified Nawaz in Panama papers case. Then the ECP also directed the PML-N to elect new head. Following the orders, Senator Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar was appointed as interim chairman in August.
Opposing the bill, leader of the Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed called it an attack on the Supreme Court with a ‘rocket launcher’.
He also said that democracy is being risked for one person.
PTI member Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed the clause 203 of the bill against the spirit of the constitution.
Later, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the bill into law, while the PML-N has already approved the amendment in party constitution allowing a disqualified member to become party chairman.