NA unanimously passes amendments to Election Act 2017


ISLAMABAD Oct 5 (TNS): The National Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed amendments to the Election Act 2017, restoring a Khatm-i-Naboowat declaration required to be signed by public office holders to its original form.

The controversy had arisen when the ruling party had passed amendments to the election law earlier this week, with opposition parties claiming the bill moved by the government had also changed the contents of a form regarding belief in Khatm-i-Naboowat, which is required to be signed by public office holders.

The amendments passed today were agreed upon by members of parliamentary parties after NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had accepted the government had made a ‘clerical error’ and invited them to discuss the matter in his chambers.

During the meeting, the parliamentary leaders agreed to restore the declaration to the original form it was in before the National Assembly passed the Elections Bill 2017 on Tuesday.

Law Minister Hamid also addressed the house, saying that a historical bill was passed recently, although now it has been amended.

The declaration should have been left intact, said Hamid, adding that the change was inadvertent.

The law minister said that the law has been restored to its earlier form, containing the affidavit required to be signed by public office-holders.

“This bill is a result of three years of hard work,” Zahid Hamid said, adding that the all the parliamentary and sub-committees were present.

On Wednesday, speaking at a press conference along with the parliamentary party leaders following the meeting in his chambers, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said: “It is a clerical error. There is no big deal to make a correction on any wrong, the nomination paper will be restored in its original form.”

Representing the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the press conference, law minister Zahid Hamid had confirmed that the oath would be restored to its original form.

The National Assembly has passed the Elections Bill 2017 on Tuesday, paving the way for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to become the president of his political party once again.