Nawaz Sharif may regain leadership of Pakistan’s ruling PML-N party

Pakistan’s ousted premier Nawaz Sharif is expected to regain the leadership of his PML-N party next week under a proposed new law that will allow a disqualified legislator to head a political party.

The 67-year-old had to step down as the chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after he was disqualified as premier by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal.

Senate, upper house of parliament, passed Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 on September 22 that has a clause that any person other than a civil servant can hold any position within a party.

The new law has deleted the condition that said only those qualified to become members of parliament can hold leadership position within political parties.

According to minister for climate change Mushahidullah Khan, the new law will be presented in the lower house or National Assembly on Monday where it is expected to be passed easily as PML-N has the majority in the house.

Once passed by both houses, the bill would go to president and become a law after his signature.

A meeting of the PML-N’s General Council will be held on October 2 to amend the party constitution that barred a disqualified person from holding any party office, according to Khan.

Before the General Council, a meeting of PML-N central working committee (CWC) would be held.

Both – the CWC and General Council – would elect the new president on October 3.

The PML-N is hopeful to complete the process of enactment and changes in the laws by October 3. With all legal hurdles removed by that time, Sharif is expected to be easily elected as president.

Though, he is still barred from becoming a lawmaker or prime minister, he would be able to control the party and all other aspects of the politics in the country through his handpicked prime minister, ministers and other appointees.

However, the amendment to the laws is expected to be challenged by the opposition parties in the Supreme Court.

Any effective intervention and decision by the top court against the new law may scuttle the plans of PML-N.