The National Assembly in its session here on Wednesday passed Election Bill 2017 for “free and fair polls”.
According to the bill, the President will have to consult the Election Commission of Pakistan before announcing a date for general elections.
Under the proposed law, the ECP will be bound to submit an annual report of its performance to the government, which will be presented before the federal and provincial assemblies.
Minister of Law Zahid Hamid addressing the session said that the Bill will help in holding free and fair elections. He added the main objective of the bill is to strengthen the role of the Election Commission.
National Assembly has given additional powers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for ensuring credible polls.
Earlier, the National Assembly had concluded a debate on the proposed election law, during which almost all opposition parties had raised objections over various clauses of a proposed bill. Ealier in July 2017, former the prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also disqualified under Article 62 of the Constitution. Announcing its verdict, the five-member bench unanimously disqualified Nawaz for failing to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets.
The government has announced to amend the Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly Law Minister Zahid Hamid also said that the disqualification period has not been mentioned in the Article 62. “This period should be less than five years. We will take the amendment to the committee,” he maintained.
National Assembly, which resumed its session in Islamabad on Tuesday, has started clause by clause consideration on Election Bill 2017.
The house adopted 155 consensus clauses of the Bill. The treasury and the opposition members have proposed amendments in different clauses of the Bill.
Expressing his anger at the opposition, the law minister asked why the objections were not raised during the ‘exhaustive’ consultation process.
Earlier, the Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah had criticised the government for the thin attendance on treasury benches.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) have opposed any amendment to Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.
Reacting to the government’s announcement to amend the Articles 62 and 63, PTI chairman Imran Khan said that it is shameful to protect the corruption of the Sharif family through making the amendment.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the purpose of the amendment is to get Nawaz Sharif restored. Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Sirajul Haq said that his party will defend Articles 62 and 63.