LAHORE: Although newly-elected Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif is the undisputed candidate for the party premiership in the next tenure, but if the party wins it will ultimately move ahead with bringing in a necessary constitutional amendment to make Nawaz Sharif the prime minister of Pakistan for the fourth term, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Tuesday.
He claimed that losing the battle in the Senate would not have a considerable impact on their attempt to bring in a constitutional amendment in the next general assembly tenure.
He said the Senate chairman was elected with a majority of votes, more than 50 per cent votes (of the total house strength) whereas two-thirds majority was required to pass a constitutional amendment bill not only from the Senate, but also from the National Assembly.
He said, “After we succeed in forming the next government, we will lobby in the National Assembly and the Senate before presenting our bill, so it sails through without a problem.”
According to a well-placed source in the PML-N, the party after the Election Reforms Act 2017 controversy would not risk bringing in any legislation to tamper with Articles 62 and 63 to a large extent, especially the article most criticised -62(1-F) – which stated that a person could not be a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) if he was not sagacious, righteous, honest, amen and non-profligate.
He said that despite being the most criticised article, any attempt to change with it could hurt religious sentiment, adding that the party was still struggling with the remnants of the previous controversy of the above-mentioned act.
The Punjab law minister said, “We will only get the words ‘one-term’ or ‘one-time’ added to the disqualification clause – Article 63.”
He said the clause currently provided no exact term. And the courts were trying to define the exact extent of disqualification which was the job of the parliament. Since it does not state any exact term, so any addition to that would only clarify the article and would not be much of an amendment rather an addition, he added.
He said it might be an uphill task but the party would make all-out efforts to pull this off.
The law minister said, “If we succeed in passing the amendment through both the houses, we will get Sharif elected to the parliament through by-election and make him our fourth term prime minister.”
He said a legal precedent to get a one-term disqualified person elected through a by-election was there, so it would not be much of a hassle. Regarding Senate elections, he said that the PML-N was happy that the establishment, with all its players, was out in the open.
He said that with establishment ruling one province and with a Senate chairman and its allies ruling in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it was clear how this show was being run.
“We will still defeat these unconstitutional forces if we have a clear mandate in the next elections,” he said, adding that a hung parliament would though be to their benefit.