PAT challenges Elections Bill 2017 in LHC


LAHORE Oct 3 (TNS):  Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) challenged on Tuesday the Elections Bill 2017 in the Lahore High Court (LHC), pleading to have the law declared null and void.

The recently-passed bill contains a clause which allows politicians disqualified from holding public office to lead political parties — an apparent bid by the government to re-elect ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president.

In the petition, the PAT has argued that the bill is against the spirit of the Constitution by enabling a disqualified person to become a party leader.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Sheikh Rasheed-led Awami Muslim League have also decided to challenge the law.

Today, the PML-N held intra-party elections to re-elect Nawaz, a day after the Elections Bill 2017 was passed. Nawaz was ultimately elected.

The National Assembly on Monday passed the Elections Bill 2017,  paving way for the former prime minister to regain chairmanship of the ruling party.

The bill was also ratified by President Mamnoon Hussain.

Enraged opposition members had protested the passing of the bill and tore copies of it after it was presented by Law Minister Zahid Hamid.

In his address, Rasheed said: You are risking the country’s democracy over one person. “You have attacked the Supreme Court with a rocket launcher,” he added.

“You can start digging the grave of democracy with your majority,” he said while referring to the PML-N parliamentarians.

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi remarked that clause 203 of the bill is against the spirit of the country’s Constitution.

The clause seeks to help an unqualified man to become the head of a party, he said, adding that the Supreme Court had also disqualified the person.

“You [PML-N] have the majority and we are a minority. But, if you pass the bill then we will challenge it in the court. We want clause 203 to be removed and Political Parties’ Order must be restored,” said Qureshi.