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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar on Wednesday removed objections by the Supreme Court (SC) registrar on petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017 and directed a hearing to be scheduled.

The CJP was hearing the in-chamber appeal on nine petitions filed by the PPP, Sheikh Rasheed, Jamshed Dasti, and others. The opposition political parties are challenging sections of the Elections Act 2017 which paved way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to retake his position as the PML-N president following disqualification in the Panama Papers case.

A three-member bench of the apex court will now hear the petitions and decide on their maintainability.

The SC registrar had earlier objected that the petitioners had not gone to the relevant forums before approaching the SC.

The Elections Act 2017 has been a cause for controversy since it was narrowly passed by the Senate. The opposition later passed an amendment to the act in the upper house, contending that a disqualified person cannot be allowed to hold party office. However, the government on Tuesday foiled opposition attempt to get the amendment passed from National Assembly in an unusually well-attended session.

The act had also irked religious and political parties after it was discovered that certain words of a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration had been changed via the act. While the PML-N had insisted it was a clerical error and not only rectified but made the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat clauses stronger with the addition of another clause, religious parties — demanding the removal of Law Minister Zahid Hamid — have disrupted traffic in the federal capital through a sit-in against directions of the administration and Islamabad High Court.