Nawaz Sharif may have had his assets frozen and have a very hostile National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at his doorstep but time and time again, he has managed to prevail legally through the democratic system and his huge support. This was proved by his party’s win in the NA-120 by-election and now, by the passing of the Elections Bill by the Senate.

After day-long efforts, the government on Friday got the amended Elections Bill 2017 passed from the Senate. Moved by Zahid Hamid, it envisages reforms to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country. The bill, which was approved by the National Assembly in August, gives every citizen the right to be part of a political party or create one, except those who are in government service. The most controversial part of the bill is Clause 203, which would allow Nawaz to be the party chief again.

Technically, this is a symbolic victory at best for Nawaz and one that would not bring forth big implications. Without the repeal of the Panama judgment or the amendment of Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution, Nawaz cannot run for parliament. Pushing for Clause 203 was a move to boost morale for PML(N) and aimed to serve a lesson to the public that Nawaz will not give up.

More importantly, the passing of this bill sheds light to the weak state of Pakistan’s opposition and its inability to unite for a common cause. During proceedings in the Upper House, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan presented an amendment to the bill which stated that any person ineligible to hold office as an MNA is ineligible to hold the position of head of a political party. Thirty seven members of the house voted in favour of Ahsan’s amendment, whereas 38 voted against it.

The failure of this amendment was an embarrassment for the opposition, who could have easily passed the amendment, had they been united. While PPP and PTI united behind Aitezaz Ahsan’s amendment, the real betrayal came from some MQM senators who voted in favor of Zahid Hamid’s bill. This comes as a surprise, as PTI and MQM appeared to have coordinated on the issue of replacing Khurshid Shah as opposition leader.

This victory reflects why PMLN has always had a winning edge in politics. The government parliamentarians have mostly stood strong on issues, whereas the opposition is marked with conflicts and tension.