The government on Tuesday comfortably blocked opposition's move to undo a clause in the Elections Act 2017 that made it possible for deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to resume his position as chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was tabled by Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Syed Naveed Qamar.

The house rejected the bill with majority vote which sought amendment in Clause 203 of the Election Act, 2017. The amendment sought that a person who is not eligible to be elected as Member of the Parliament on ground of disqualification should not become an office-bearer of any political party. As many as 98 lawmakers voted in favour of the bill while 163 lawmaker voted against it.

Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid opposed the opposition’s move and recalled how General Ayub Khan had inserted the very clause in the Political Parties’ Act in 1962 and this bar lasted till 1975, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government moved to make the act in accord with the constitution after dubbing it against democracy.

This, he noted, was brought back by Musharraf in 2000 and then was part of the Political Parties’ Order 2002, aiming at Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.