ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with majority vote aimed at PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif who was recently elected party president.
The bill was moved by Senator Shibli Faraz on behalf of the opposition members in the House to further amend the Elections Act, 2017. The amendment in section 203 sought to impose ban on a disqualified person to take part in political activities, which was finally approved by the majority vote.
As many as 49 lawmakers voted in favor of this amendment and 18 against it.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid while opposing the bill said that the controversial section was incorporated by military dictators Ayub Khan and Pervez Musharraf.
He said the democratic government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had omitted the section in 1975 as it was against the spirit of the constitution.
He said the controversial clause was again included by Pervaz Musharraf in Political Party Act 2002. Even the electoral committee on Election Reforms unanimously welcomed the removal of the clause in November 17, 2014, he added.
He refuted the impression that the clause was incorporated to give benefit to a specific person.
Earlier, the opposition moved a resolution to suspend the rules under 263 Rules and allow the House to pass the bill.
The opposition lawmakers including Taj Haider and Azam Swati mainly requested the chair to take sense of the House and take up the bill instead of referring it to the concerned standing committee for further deliberation.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said there was no justification about urgency to take up this bill and it would be tantamount to bulldozing the legislative process.
He insisted that as per the tradition, the bill should be referred to the committee.
Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq said that it would be against the tradition and dignity of the House to take this bill in haste and all of us should respect the tradition of the house.
Javed Abbasi said the opposition was supporting the clause incorporated by the military dictator.
He said none of the member of the Electoral Committee on Elections Reforms submitted dissenting note during any meeting.
Mushahidullah Khan regretted that today ‘Ayubism’ and ‘Musharrafism’won and `Bhuttoisim’ was defeated.
He said efforts were being made to keep away popular leader Nawaz Sharif from the people.
He was of the view that the people still consider him (Nawaz Sharif) as their leader and no such move would be succeeded to keep away him from the public.
Nihal Hashmi said due respect should be given to the Parliament and the Upper House (Senate) and its tradition should be followed in letter and spirit.
Pervaiz Rashid said the people who could not defeat Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in the Elections had passed the Election Bill to save their skin.
It is unfortunate that Nawaz Sharif was disqualified when only eight months are remaining for next general elections, he added.
He expressed the hope the people would again vote in favor of Pakistan Muslim League (N) in the next general elections in 2018.
Kamil Ali Agha, Rehman Malik, Sherry Reham, Saher Kamran, Taj Haider and Nauman Wazir, Mukhtar Ahmad Dhamra supported the bill and alleged that the clause was a person specific.