ANI Photo | Pakistan: Interim President approves bill to limit lawmakers’ disqualification to five years; Nawaz Sharif expected to benefit

Pakistan Interim President Sadiq Sanjarani on Monday signed into law a bill seeking to limit the disqualification of lawmakers to five years, Geo News reported.
The Election Act Law bill that was passed by the National Assembly on Sunday amends the Section 232 (Qualifications and Disqualifications) of the Election Act, 2017.
Senate Chairman Sanjrani, who assumed the role of acting president a day earlier as President Arif Alvi left for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, signed the summary forwarded by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
By limiting the disqualification of a parliamentarian to a maximum of five years, the bill is expected to pave the way for those barred for life from running for public office.
Notably, the differences between President Arif Alvi and Shehbaz Sharif-led government are quite open in the media, and remarkably, the bill has been approved when Alvi is not in office.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and Istihkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) chief Jahangir Khan Tareen will be among those who benefit from the move.
The Supreme Court disqualified both senior politicians for life in June and December 2017, respectively, after they were found to be “dishonest” under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
The bill was already approved by Senate — the upper house of parliament — earlier this month.
The Bill reads, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provisions of this Act, any other law for the time being in force and Judgment, orders or decree of any court, including the Supreme Court and a High Court, the disqualification of a person to be elected, chosen, or to remain as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of 9 Provincial Assembly under Paragraph (1) of clause (1) of Article 62 of the Constitution shall be for a period not exceeding five years from the declaration by the court of law in that regard and such declaration shall be subject to the due process of law”, Geo News reported.
The Pakistan National Assembly approved another amendment to the law, enabling the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce the date for elections unilaterally, without the approval of the country’s President, the report said.
The Bill even allows the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to make changes to the schedule of the polls after announcing the date. However, ECP would have to do it “in writing”.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had twice attempted to overturn the lifetime disqualification of parliamentarians, Geo News reported citing The News International.
However, both efforts — The Supreme Court Review of Judgments and Orders Bill 2023 and the law to limit the chief justice’s powers — were challenged in the apex court.

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