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ISLAMABAD: Acting President Sadiq Sanjrani, on Monday, signed the Finance Bill, 2023 and the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

The Finance Bill,2023 will come into force from July 1, 2023.The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023, will pave the way for the return of Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen into politics as it limits the disqualification of MPs to five years with a retrospective effect.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and the newly-formed Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) chief Jahangir Tareen will be among those who could benefit from the law.

Acting President Sanjrani approved the bills under Article 75 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Following the passage of the Finance Bill 2023 from the Lower House of the Parliament, it was sent to the acting President SadiqSanjrani, as President Arif Alvi left for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj on Sunday.

On Sunday, the National Assembly passed the Finance Bill 2023, giving the go-ahead to the budgetary proposals for the upcoming financial year.

The finance bill with a total outlay of Rs14.48 trillion was moved by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the National Assembly for passage. The budget 2023-24 focuses on economic stability, sustainable and inclusive growth as well as curbing inflationary pressures.

The House passed the federal budget with the revised targets to appease the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the revival of the stalled loan programme.

The National Assembly approved the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023 soon after approval of the Finance Bill, 2023.

The Act – titled Elections (Amendment) Bill 2023 – also aims to empower the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce election dates unilaterally without having to consult the president.

According to the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the amendments have been proposed under Article 62(f) of the Constitution, which states: “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) unless he is sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”

Pertaining to the time period of disqualification for lawmakers, the bill included an amendment to Section 232 (Disqualification on account of offences) of the Election Act, 2017.

Clause 4 of the bill stated: “In the said Act, for Section 232, the following shall be substituted and shall, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (3) of section 1 of the said Act, always be deemed to have been so substituted on and from commencement of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.”

The amendment added that the procedure, manner and duration of disqualifications and qualifications should be as specifically provided for in relevant provisions of Articles 62 (qualifications for membership of Parliament) and 63 (disqualifications for membership of Parliament) of the Constitution.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, any other law for the time being in force and judgement, order 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 Parliament or provincial assembly under paragraph (f) of clause (1) of Article 62 of the Constitution shall be for a period not exceeding five years from the declaration of the court of law in that regard and such declaration shall be subject to the due process of law,” it stated.

Moreover, amendments have been proposed to Sections 57(1) (notification of election programme) and 58 (notification of election programme) of the Elections Act to empower the ECP to announce election dates unilaterally without having to consult the president.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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