NA Passes Electoral Bill 2017 Amid Opposition Ruckus

NA Passes Electoral Bill 2017 Amid Opposition Ruckus

Islamabad (October 2, 2017): The  Electoral Reform Bill 2017 has been approved by the National Assembly amid opposition parties, particularly Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) ruckus. 

According to the details, the National Assembly on Monday passed the Elections Bill 2017, paving way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to regain chairmanship of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The electoral bill was tabled by the law minister Zahid Hamid.

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The speaker gave approval of the bill clause by clause, however opposition torn the copies of the bill and strongly opposed the passage of clause 203 of the bill.

The clause 203 of the reform bill allowed the disqualified person to hold the party head slot.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq did not allow PTI parliamentary leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi to speak out of agenda that enraged the PTI lawmakers and they made the session noisy after chanting slogans.Enraged opposition lawmakers tore copies of the bill and threw them onto the speaker’s dais as he announced its passage. The president is expected to sign it into law soon.

Lashing out at government opposition leader Khursheed Shah, during his address in NA, said that government wanted to take decisions outside the parliament and it has seen the what the worst results emerged from the decision taken outside the parliament.

Shah termed the petroleum price increase unjust said, “Government sucking the blood of the poor as the increase in POL price will directly affect the middle class.”

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Addressing the Lower House of the Parliament, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Clause 203 of the legislation, which pertains to the eligibility of persons to hold office in a political party, is “against the spirit of the Constitution.”

Qureshi said that the clause pertaining to the eligibility of parliamentarians to hold party office was being removed solely to protect ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The PTI leader added that omission of the clause ─ which states that any person ineligible to hold office as an MNA is also ineligible to hold the position of head of a political party ─ was contrary to the Consitution as it would allow a disqualified individual to take charge of political affairs of a party.Urging the government to reconsider the bill and include the omitted clause, Qureshi said that if the bill was passed in its present form, his party would approach the courts.

“The reality behind Clause 203 has been hidden from us,” Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah asid as he presented proposed amendments to the bill.

Tariqullah said that it was condemnable that the legislation could allow a person who had been disqualified by the Supreme Court to hold office

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid stated that democracy would suffer if the bill was passed.

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“This law is being passed for one person,” Rasheed said. “I am going to the Supreme Court,” he declared.

In August, following Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court, the ECP had informed the PML-N that according to the Political Parties Order 2002, a disqualified MNA cannot hold any position in the party.Last week, the PML-N managed to amend the Elections Bill 2017 in the opposition-controlled Senate in favour of Nawaz’s bid to become the party president. The bill will now be tabled in the Lower House of Parliament, where the PML-N holds a majority, on Monday.

According to the bill, every citizen will have the right to be a part of a political party, except those in government service, and will also have the right to form a party.

It enables the ECP to scrutinise election expenses within 90 days, failing which election expenses submitted by a political party would be deemed to be correct.The bill states that any parliamentarian could only be disqualified for a period of five years and that ECP will be an independent and autonomous body, which will formulate its own law, and party funding details will be available online.

It also restricts the caretaker government from making any policy decisions.

During a meeting of Central Working Committee at the Punjab House, the party members endorsed a resolution forwarded by Climate Change Minister Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

The party leaders expressed confidence and reaffirmed their trust on the party leader. They also paid tribute to the former prime minister for his services during his tenure.Meanwhile, the PML-N has also summoned a meeting of its general council Tuesday to appoint Nawaz as the party’s president after his removal from office.

Former senator and the party’s chief election commissioner, Chaudhry Jafar Iqbal, will apprise the members of schedule for the election of party president.

It is quite unlikely for any other PML-N member to file his nomination for post.

Related News: 

NA Likely to Discuss Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 Today

Electoral Bill Tabled in NA During Today’s Session

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