The Press Trust of Pakistan, June 25 (Xinhua) — Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a bill on Sunday to limit the lifetime disqualification period for MPs to five years, which could pave the way for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s return from London before general elections this year. Active politics paved the way. Year.
Sharif, 73, was disqualified for life by the Supreme Court in 2017 and was later found guilty of corruption by the Accountability Court.
The three-time former prime minister was ineligible to hold public office for life after the Supreme Court ruled in the Panama Papers case in 2018.
The Elections (Amendment) Bill 2023, besides shortening the period of disqualification, also aims to empower the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to unilaterally announce the date of elections without consulting the President.
With regard to the period of disqualification of MPs, the bill includes amendments to section 232 (Disqualification for Offences) of the Electoral Act 2017.
The bill was approved by the Senate on June 16.
The amendment also empowers European Communist parties to unilaterally announce election dates without consulting the president. To become law, the bill should be approved by the president.
Senate President Sadiq Sanjrani, who has taken over as acting president, may immediately support the bill as Pakistan Justice Instigation (PTI)-backed President Arif Alvi goes on a pilgrimage abroad, Geographical News reported.
Sharif’s lifetime disqualification is believed to end when the law comes into effect, paving the way for him to return to the country and rejoin active politics ahead of general elections, possibly in October.
But Sharif still needs to overturn rulings in two anti-corruption cases against him before he can take an active part in politics.
Nawaz Sharif, the supreme leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has been living in self-imposed exile in the UK since November 2019.
Sharif is serving seven years in the Azizia Mills corruption case before the Lahore High Court granted four rounds of bail on medical grounds to travel to London.
PML-N has said its top leader will return to Pakistan once the election date is announced.
Elections will be held in October and the current government’s term ends on 13 August.
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