The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday announced its intention to challenge the Election Bill 2017 in court.

Yesterday, the Senate passed the bill after rejecting a key amendment proposed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to retain a controversial clause resurrected by retired Gen Pervez Mushar­raf through the Political Parties Order 2002, paving the way for an otherwise ineligible Nawaz Sharif to head his own faction of the Pakistan Muslim League.

The Election Bill 2017 was passed with a majority vote by the Senate through which the legal bar on a person to serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is either not qualified to be, or disqualified from being, elected as a member of parliament under Article 63 of the Constitution is set to go.

The bill was passed with the help of two opposition parties — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Balochistan National Party-Mengal — which did not support the opposition during the voting process.

Since the bill, already passed by the National Assembly, has been passed with amendments by the upper house, it will go to the NA again and, in all probability, the lower house of parliament will approve it.

PTI Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi while speaking to the media today said that the party, after consultations, would make a final decision on challenging the bill.

Qureshi alleged that Sharif and ex-president Asif Zardari are in touch with each other, adding that three PPP leaders ─ former Senate chairman Farooq H. Naek, Fateh Muhammad Hasni and Rubina Khalid — did not follow the line of the rest of the members including the opposition leader, and voted in the government's favour on the bill.

The PTI leader claimed Zardari had been in touch with the PML-N due to the fear of his potential disqualification.

Qureshi said his party had also expedited consultations on a new opposition leader in the National Assembly.

A move, spearheaded by the MQM-P, is under way to replace Leader of the Opposition in the NA Syed Khursheed Shah with Qureshi.

The MQM is said to be very 'annoyed' with the PPP over different issues in Karachi.

It has been learnt that there is a provision in the rules and procedures of business of the NA which permits such a change and it has nothing to do with the Constitution.

Qureshi said he had been in contact with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and would also contact MQM and other parties regarding the matter.

He said the PTI had no desire to change the leader of the opposition, and had no issues with any one person, but it was afraid of collusion.

The party has begun the process of consultation, and is set to meet MQM's Farooq Sattar on Sept 26, he said.

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