Islamabad (October 1, 2017): The Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 which has already been passed by both the National Assembly and the Senate with amendments is likely to be deliberated upon during the session of the National Assembly today.
It may be mentioned here that on August 22, the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 was passed by the National Assembly rejecting Pakistan Tehreeke-e-Insaf’s (PTI) amendment recommendations in the process.
Though many other issues of national and international importance would be discussed during the NA session called by President Mamnoon Hussain at 5 p.m. Today the legislative business pertaining to Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 has vital significance because it would pave the way for disqualified minister Nawaz Sharif to regain chairmanship of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
After Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court in July, the Election Commission of Pakistan had informed the PMLN in August 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 Electoral Reforms 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.
The Bill reads that every citizen has 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 scrutinize election expenses within 90 days, failing which election expenses submitted by a political party would be deemed to be correct.The bill also 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.
Meanwhile, the PML-N has also summoned its general council meeting tomorrow 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.It may also be pertinent here to mention that on September 25 the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 which became an Act after its approval by the Senate too after being approved by the National Assembly last month, was challenged at Islamabad High Court alleging ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif passed the bill to get personal interest.
Petitioners Makhdoom Niaz and Advocate Ibrar Raza advocates argue that Supreme Court has declared Nawaz Sharif disqualified and now he forced his party to get passed the bill for his own political interests but on the basis of personal interests legislation could not be made as constitution allowed legislation only in the national interests.The petitioners also argue that under Article 8 of the constitution, there could not be no legislation against the social values and tradition.
“Electoral reform act has been passed by using horse trading, therefore a party has revoked the membership of his senator in this connection,” the petition said adding that the electoral bill also conflicted with the resolution objectives and constitution.
The secretary law, establish division, cabinet division, chief election commission, secretary election commission and Nawaz Sharif made parties in the petition.