ISLAMABAD: Ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been elected unopposed as the president of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).
PML-N leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry submitted the nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif for the slot with returning officer Amir Afzal Mandokhel for intra-party election. No other party leader submitted nomination papers for the slot of the party president till the close of time for submission of nomination papers.
On Monday, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the controversial Election Act 2017 into law after it was rushed through the National Assembly amid vociferous opposition from the opposition parties.
A controversial clause of the Bill, commonly known as Electoral Reforms Bill, allows an individual disqualified to be member of the parliament to hold office of a political party.
The Central Working Committee (CWC) of the PML-N in its meeting at the Punjab House yesterday unanimously approved a resolution moved by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his capacity as the party’s acting secretary general to make necessary changes to the party constitution to make Sharif party chief.
Earlier 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 a parliament under Article 63 of the Constitution.
Leader of the opposition in the Senate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan had proposed an amendment to the Bill, retaining the above-mentioned clause, but it was rejected with a majority vote – 39 against 38 despite the opposition majority in the upper house.
The opposition parties, whose combined strength is more than that of treasury benches, had failed to pre-empt the bill without the amendment.
Back in July, a five-judge Supreme Court bench had disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panamagate case, thus cutting short his third stint in power.
Sharif served as prime minister twice in the 1990s but failed to complete his tenure. In his second term he was ousted in October 1999 coup leading to a decade of exile. He won a third term as prime minister in 2013 general election.