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November 22, 2017



Nawaz detractors served a major blow in NA

ISLAMABAD: Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif served a major blow to his detractors’ bid to strip him off the office of the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Misinformation and half truths heatedly spread about existence of a forward bloc in the PML-N which, according to the wishful thinking of the propagandists, was to crop up with a bang during voting in the National Assembly fell flat to the great chagrin of these elements.
The very motivation that the opposition parties fell back on was their self-created perception or delusion that the PML-N was about to disintegrate and would face large-scale desertions during voting on their amendment in the Elections Act, 2017, to divest Nawaz Sharif of the party’s top office.
The harsh tone and tenor of the opposition speakers they adopted during speeches on the amendment abundantly reflected their utter frustration owing to the failure of their expectations and hopes.
Nawaz Sharif convincingly proved once again that even at this difficult time when he is being cornered from all sides, the entire PML-N stands behind him like a solid rock. The reason is quite clear: all the party lawmakers saw their future in gluing to their party, finding no other viable political option. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are obviously not considered good choices by them.
The decisive rejection of the amendment trashed the minus-Nawaz Sharif formula and the efforts to implement this machination at different levels. The deposed premier loudly told his opponents once again that he is down for the moment but not out, and has the guts and power to bounce back not only inside the parliament but also at the public level. The message through his action and words is that he can’t be taken for granted even after his Supreme Court-imposed disqualification.
Section 203 of the Elections Act, 2017, which all the opposition parties jointly attempted to scrap

because it provided for a disqualified person to hold an office of a political party, won approval of the National Assembly for the second time in a span of less than a month. No law has ever been passed twice like this. First, it was approved during the passage of the entire Elections Act. Now it is the second time when opposition’s amendment was dismissed by it.
The approach of the main sponsor of the move, the PPP, was particularly reprehensible because it was its founding father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had first excised this law made by Ayub Khan during the seventies. By moving the instant amendment, the PPP reneged on what its supreme leader had done.
After the abject failure of the opposition parties to deprive Nawaz Sharif of the slot of the PML-N president, the only option left before them to remove it from the Elections Act is the forum of the apex court, where section 203 has already been challenged. Initial hearing on this plea is scheduled for Wednesday.
Regardless of the judgment of the top court on this clause, the National Assembly has spoken twice. In fact, the prime motive behind the approval of this amendment in the Senate by the opposition parties was to tell the Supreme Court that the Upper House wanted to get rid of it and resolutely moved against it.
However, the move has been spiked by the National Assembly even before the start of the court hearing. Former Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali was just a lone ranger, who, having been elected on the PML-N ticket in the 2013 elections, voted against his party for unexplained reasons. But on the other side, Rajab Baloch, who is undergoing extensive cancer treatment, made it to the National Assembly to support his leader and party. More than a dozen PML-N MPs including federal ministers, who did not turn up, were either busy in other matters or happened to be abroad for different reasons.
Like previous national assemblies, the present Lower House of Parliament has always been hit by lack of quorum, causing enormous embarrassment to the PML-N. But everyone reached the debating hall to mark his/her presence and show support to their leader, who is facing hardships from different fronts.
The enchanting beauty of the episode was that all what happened was an essential part of the parliamentary democracy. Everywhere in the world the opposition tries to create difficult situations for the government inside the parliament in an established parliamentary, legal and constitutional way. And the ruling party tries to blunt such moves. The highly charged speeches delivered during the debate on the amendment added further grace to the democratic norms and traditions.
Despite knowing that it can’t outclass the treasury on the force of its numerical strength, all the opposition parties attempted to take advantage of the engineered speculation that the PML-N was confronted with a rebellion, but failed to outshine their opponent.
There is no gainsaying that the defeat of the government during voting on this amendment would have spawned extremely serious and risky consequences for Nawaz Sharif as well as the PML-N. The former premier would have become exceedingly beleaguered and harassed in case of the approval of the move.
Even during voting on this crucial amendment, PTI Chairman Imran Khan absented himself from the National Assembly. Without a doubt, he considers it below his status and dignity to show up in the Lower House.