Despite the opposition parties’ protests, the Election Reforms Bill 2017, as expected, was cleared by the National Assembly on Monday – removing the hurdle for deposed PM Nawaz Sharif in becoming the chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) again.
Law Minister Zahid Hamid presented the electoral reforms bill in the assembly. The session was presided over by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi strongly opposed the bill.
After the speaker refused to allow Khursheed Shah to speak, opposition members began shouting anti-government slogans and also tore copies of the bill.
The bill had already been passed by the National Assembly and was returned to the lower house on Monday for fresh votes on the Senate’s amendments.
Given the PML-N’s majority in the lower house, it was expected to be smooth sailing.
Now the bill will land on President Mamnoon Hussain’s desk for a signature approving it as law.
Among the new laws introduced to the bill was an amendment to Section 5 of the PPO. The amendment allows every citizen who is not a government servant to form a political party or hold any office of a political party.
Introduced during Musharraf’s era, PPO Section 5 (1) says that every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, has the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party.
But the clause currently has a proviso which reads “Provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being, elected or chosen as a member of Parliament under Article 63 of the Constitution…or under any other law for the time being in force”.
That clause disappeared in the bill. When the bill was passed in the National Assembly, it went unnoticed.
It was only during voting on the bill in the Senate that leader of the opposition Aitzaz Ahsan brought the development to the notice of the house and proposed an amendment in the relevant law passed by the National Assembly.
Ahsan proposed an amendment to clause 203 (1) of the new election laws with a new proviso stating: “provided that the person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being, elected or chosen as a member of the parliament under any law for the time being in force”.
Law minister Zahid Hamid opposed the amendment, which led to the chairman calling a vote count. To the opposition’s surprise, Ahsan was outvoted by one vote, with 37 for and 38 against, despite the government’s numerical inferiority.
The post Opposition fails to stop treasury from clearing Election Reforms Bill in NA appeared first on The Express Tribune.
Source: Tribune News
Original Post: Opposition fails to stop treasury from clearing Election Reforms Bill in NA