Islamabad, November 21 (Express Tribune): The Pakistan National Assembly rejected on Tuesday a bill to make an amendment to the Election Act 2017 so that a disqualified person could be prevented from leading a political party.
This helps former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif remain leader of the Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz even after being disqualified from holding public office by the Supreme Court in a corruption case.
163 members in the House ruled against the motion while 98 members have voted in its favor, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq announced.
The bill was tabled days after deposed premier Nawaz Sharif re-election as head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PML-N was represented in the House today by 167 members. The government’s allies included the JUI-F, the PML-F and the PkMAP with 13, five and three representatives, respectively.
Members of the opposition parties included the 45 of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), 33 of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), 24 of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), four of the Jamat-i-Islami and two each of the Pakistan Muslim League Qayyum and the Awami National Party (ANP).
Last month, Senate passed clause 203 of the Act, restraining any disqualified person from leading a political party.
The Senate ruled that no person, not qualified to become a member of parliament, can hold any party office.
Sharif stepped down as the head of the ruling PML-N on July 28 following his disqualification on the same day in a landmark verdict by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
However, on October 3, he was re-elected as president of the party unopposed as no one filed nomination papers for the candidacy in the intra-party elections.
Imran Khan, leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, said in a tweet that those members of the National Assembly who voted against the bill should hang their heads in shame.
(The featured image at the top is that of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif)