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NA rejects Opposition’s amendment in Election Act, 2017

SLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday rejected the private member’s bill seeking amendment in Election Act, 2017 to bar disqualified person from heading a party or giving party office to disqualified member of the Parliament.

The bill – the Election (Amendment) Bill, 2017- aimed to amend the Election Act, 2017- was tabled by PPPP Parliamentary Leader Syed Naveed Qamar.

The House rejected the bill with majority vote which sought amendment in Clause 203 of the Election Act, 2017. The amendment sought that a person who is not eligible to be elected as Member of the Parliament on ground of disqualification should not become an office-bearer of any political party. As many as 98 lawmakers voted in favour of the bill while 163 lawmaker voted against it.

Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid vehemently opposed the opposition’s move and recalled how General Ayub Khan had inserted the very clause in the Political Parties’ Act in 1962 and this bar lasted till 1975, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s democratic government moved to make the act in accord with the Constitution after dubbing it against the Constitution and democracy.

This, he noted, was brought back by Musharraf in 2000 and then was part of the Political Parties’ Order 2002, aiming at Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

The minister contended that the needless move was against the fundamental principles of political parties as well as the Constitution, as the legislation had already become a law and during over two years of deliberations at various stages, not a single member objected to the related clause and now all of a sudden after the Panama case judgment, they wanted to target an individual through the amendment.

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that political parties including PML-N, PPPP, JI, JUI-F and others rendered great sacrifices for the sake of democracy. No one would be allowed to hostage democracy and the struggle would continue for people of the country, he added.

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