The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday adjourned the applications challenging the election of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as president of the ruling PML-N for an indefinite period.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza was hearing petitions filed by Pakistani Awami Tehreek (PAT), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and other parties challenging the party presidency of Sharif, who had been asked to step down as party head by the ECP following his disqualification as prime minister by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in August.

While no one appeared before the commission on behalf of the PTI, Advocate Niaz Inquilabi represented PAT and himself on a petition he had filed.

The election commissioner noted that the Elections Act 2017 has already been challenged in the Supreme Court.

"What can we do in this matter?" he remarked.

The lawyer argued that a party cannot remain registered in the name of a person who has been disqualified by a court.

At this, the CEC observed that PML-N is registered with the name of Pakistan Muslim League and that 'Nawaz' or 'Quaid' refers to the group.

Due to the matter being heard by the apex court, the commission adjourned all four petitions until an indefinite period.

At the last hearing, the CEC had told PAT's lawyer that recent amendments to the Elections Act 2017 had provided legal cover to Sharif's re-election as party head.

The government had bulldozed the amended Election Bill 2017 through the National Assembly on October 2, allowing politicians disqualified from holding public office to head a political party, paving the way for Sharif to head his party again.

A day later, Nawaz was re-elected president of PML-N unopposed.

Following his re-election, opposition parties had filed petitions in the ECP challenging Nawaz's re-election.

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