LAHORE - The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Tuesday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, challenging certain provisions of Elections Act 2017.

Advocate Ishtiaq Chaudhary of PAT moved the petition submitting that Supreme Court disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif but he was again given a way to become a party head through this act that would weaken democracy and democratic institutions.

“Public will remain deprived of true and genuine leadership,” he said questioned as to how the state and entire nation could be “put at stake just for the sake of one man’s protection”.

The lawyer said that provision of Political Parties Order had been trashed, which had barred convicted persons to become office-holder of a political party.  He said the period of disqualification had also been fixed as maximum of five-year under section 232 that was in conflict with the Article 62 of the Constitution. The Election Act 2017, he said, was against the spirit and mandate of the Constitution and fundamental rights. He said the new law was based on mala fide intention as it was meant to protect a man who was disqualified by the SC.

He further submitted that a column requiring a declaration that Muhammad (PBUH) is last messenger of Allah was excluded which was against the Article 2-A and other Islamic provisions mentioned in the Constitution. He submitted that loyalty to state under Article 5 of the Constitution requires the law to be made for the protection of public at large, which has not been done by passing the impugned legislation. He prayed the court to declare null and void sections 203 & 232 of The Election Act 2017 for being contrary to the Constitution. He also prayed the court to bar the election commission of Pakistan from issuing a notification of Nawaz Sharif as head of PML-N.