PPP submits Bill in senate to amend Election Reforms Bill 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has submitted to the Senate a bill to amend Election Reforms Bill 2017 especially the controversial clause that allow a disqualified person from higher court to hold party membership and presidency.

Speaking at a news conference at Zardari House here on Thursday, PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said the party senators had submitted the bill which would come on the agenda on the first private member’s day in the next session of the opposition-dominated Senate expected to begin from Oct 23.

PPP general secretary Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, former finance minister Salim Mandviwalla and party’s media coordinator Nazir Dhoki also attended the press conference.

Political analysts believe that the PPP’s move is only a face-saving effort by the opposition parties which had previously failed to block the passage of the bill from the Senate despite having a majority in the house.

The PPP has already challenged the provision in the law before the Supreme Court.

When reminded that the PPP had in the past criticised the judiciary for undoing legislation or suggesting amendments terming it an encroachment on parliament’s domain, Mr Babar said this point was in the minds of the PPP members during the discussion on the issue, but after reviewing the present situation, the party decided that like other parties, it should also approach the court on the matter.

He said the PPP had made this decision after lengthy deliberations because of the party’s stated position that parliament was a supreme institution and no other institution had the right to interfere in its affairs.

Former Senate chairman Nayyar Bokhari on this occasion clarified that the party in its petition had not questioned the powers of parliament.

“I want to make it clear. We have not challenged the powers of parliament to do legislation. We have challenged the vires and intention of the law that the government had managed to get passed only because of its numerical strength in parliament,” said Mr Bokhari.

In reply to a question about the discussion in political circles on the setting up of a national government in the country, Mr Bokhari said that there had been no provision of a national government in the Constitution. He said the Constitution stated that only those who had the people’s mandate had the right to form the government.

In response to another question about the recent seminar on economy conducted by the army and addressed by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, the PPP leaders said that there was no harm in arranging such activities by the armed forces.

Mr Mandviwalla said the defence of a country always depended upon the state of economy.

He warned that the country was moving towards bankruptcy. He also alleged massive irregularities in the LNG contract signed by the present government with a private company and asked the rulers to present details of the agreement before parliament.

The announcement by the PPP to move an amendment bill came a day after the Senate adopted a resolution stating that a person ineligible to be elected as a lawmaker should not become an office-bearer of a political party.