PPP, PTI to challenge Election Act in SC

ISLAMABAD/Lahore -  Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Wednesday decided to challenge the Election Act 2017 in the Supreme Court.

Under the new law, a disqualified person can lead or form a party. This week former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was re-elected unopposed as the PML-N for four years in the intra-party elections – post the enactment of the law.

A PPP statement said the party will challenge section 203 of the Election Act 2017 under which a person disqualified by a competent court is also allowed to become an office-bearer and even head a political party.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by former president Asif Ali Zardari. The meeting was attended by Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Latif Khosa, Nayyer Bukhari, Rehman Malik, Naveed Qamar, Senator Aitezaz Ahsan, Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwalla, Manzoor Chaudhry, Tanvir Kaira and Farhatulah Babar.

PPP Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the meeting also decided that Sardar Latif Khosa will be the lead counsel of the party in the case.

“The petition will be filed in the Supreme Court by Secretary General PPP Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari on behalf of the party,” the statement said.

Last day, the National Assembly passed the Election Bill 2017 after its approval in the Senate. President Mamnoon Hussain signed the Bill into a law hours later.

 The PML-N’s Central Executive Council had already given approval to amend the party constitution to facilitate the election of Nawaz Sharif. Before the amendment, any person who was not eligible to become a member of the National Assembly was not qualified for any party position. 

The opposition parties have condemned Sharif’s election as the PML-N chief, saying a disqualified person should not lead a party, especially the ruling party.

Meanwhile, PTI will also challenge the newly-enacted electoral law in the Supreme Court, party’s legal expert Dr Babar Awan said yesterday.

“It is tantamount to making mockery of the constitution,” he said while addressing a press conference at party’s provincial secretariat in Lahore.

Awan asserted that a person who had been disqualified by the court could not become head of a political party. He said that, besides challenging this person-specific legislation in the Supreme Court, the PTI would also stage rallies across the country to mobilize public opinion against it.

Talking about the electoral reforms bill passed by the Parliament, he said it was controversial under the constitutional and the Shariah laws. “How can a person become the head of a political party who was not eligible to become member of the Parliament,” he questioned, adding that Nawaz Sharif would not be able to continue as head of the party for too long. He also opined that ex-PM’s disqualification was permanent.

Babar alleged that Nawaz Sharif had taken up fight against the judiciary and the army, but the PTI will resist this move. “We will not allow the clash of institutions at any cost,” he averred, adding that the PML-N was bent upon pushing the country into serious crises.

PTI leader alleged that there were reports that contract for publication of election material was being awarded to a private firm instead of Printing Corporation of Pakistan. “It seems that foundation of pre-poll rigging is being laid,” he added.

He reiterated his party’s demand for early elections, saying this was the only way to steer the country out of the constitutional crisis.


Our staff reporters

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt