ISLAMABAD: Senior Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the resolution passed by the Senate was a ‘person-specific’ move that was made at the behest of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
The resolution states that a person who is not eligible to become a member of the Parliament or has been disqualified cannot lead any political party.
“The Senate only approved this resolution on one person’s [Asif Zardari] behest,” the provincial law minister said.
Sanaullah insisted that the reason that the resolution was passed was Zardari’s wish to refute the allegations of a backdoor deal with PML-N, adding that the resolution holds no more than ‘recommendatory value’.
“The very same Senate accepted the Elections Bill 2017, and it can’t now pass a resolution that negates the Elections Act 2017,” Sanaullah said while speaking’ programme Capital Talk.
Responding to a question if both, the ruling party and opposition had turned democracy and Parliament into a joke, Sanaullah denied PML-N’s non-serious behaviour in this regard, insisting that the Elections Bill 2017 had stayed in the standing committee for weeks before it was moved to the National Assembly, from where it was forwarded to the Senate and eventually approved.
He questioned the opposition’s sudden ‘alertness,’ insisting that he fails to understand how members of the opposition failed to notice the bill all the while it passed through its due course.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Senator Taj Haider, however, defended his party and allies’ decision to pass the resolution, stating that forward-thinking demands for the house to be set in order, and till the political setup isn’t brought on track, the country can’t be brought on track either because it’s the politicians who have to ‘straighten up the systems.’
“It is the need of time that there should be no doubts about the political leadership that is now brought forward,” Haider said.
In response to a question about the opposition’s motive to pass the resolution the President of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association Advocate Arif Chaudhry said that the ‘Senate washed its face and cleared a burden of off its shoulders today.’
Chaudhry said that the PML-N manoeuvred and manipulated to get the Elections Bill 2017 approved, and added that courts don’t place a lot of weight on ‘person-specific’ legislations.
“The Elections Bill 2017 and this resolution are both person-specific legislations,” he said. “Someone ask these parties how many people-specific legislations have been passed in the past four years.”
Weighing in on the argument, Defence Analyst Amjad Shuaib said that logic fails to accept the Elections Act 2017 because a ‘person disqualified from holding public office can’t be allowed to positively become the unchallenged king who pulls all the string of the civil administration.’
“The resolution passed today, by the opposition and its allies, is only a meek attempt at damage control,” Shuaib said, adding that it made no logical sense that a person who is disqualified by the court of law from holding public office can hold a designation in a political party.
The Elections Bill 2017 was approved in the Senate on October 2, after it won by a 48 to 47 majority. Among other amendments, the bill (now Act) dictates that every citizen holds the right to be a part of a political party and form a party with the only exception of government employees.
The Elections Act 2017 drew heavy criticism from the opposition, which termed the move as the ruling party’s ‘desperate’ attempt to restore Nawaz Sharif as PML-N’s president after he was legally barred from holding the position in the July 28 Panama Papers case verdict by the Supreme Court.
In sharp contrast from the October 2 decision, the resolution against a disqualified person holding a party office received 52 votes in its favour today.
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