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Govt, Opposition showdown today over Sharif-specific poll clause

ISLAMABAD: With the opposition poised to table today a bill that seeks to undo a clause of the Elections Act 2017 which paved the way for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to head his party, the National Assembly ’s session is likely to witness political squabbling.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will table the bill, which is being backed by major opposition parties including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

As the government has been facing an embarrassment over the lack of quorum to run the house, the PML-N boss Nawaz Sharif has directed National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and other key leaders to ensure the presence of party MNAs in the session to foil the opposition move

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has also convened a parliamentary party meeting ahead of the session to work out a strategy to block the bill.

The bill seeks to amend Section 203 of the Elections Act 2017, which allows a person ineligible to be a member of parliament to head a political party.

The controversial clause of the Act, commonly known as Electoral Reforms Bill, had caused a furore among the opposition parties, which later approached the top court challenging the law. The Supreme Court is yet to hear their petitions.

On Sept 22, the Senate had passed the Election Bill 2017 with a majority vote, doing away with a clause which barred a person from serving as an office-bearer of a political party if he is either not qualified to be, or disqualified from being elected as a member of parliament under Article 63 of the Constitution.

After President Mamnoon Hussain signed the controversial Election Act 2017 into law, Nawaz Sharif was re-elected as party president.



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