ISLAMABAD: Acting President Sadiq Sanjrani on Monday signed two bills into law — the amended Finance Bill 2023-24 and the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2023.

One of the bills, passed by the National Assembly on Sunday, has paved the way for return of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and Jehangir Khan Tareen to active politics by limiting their disqualification period to five years.

Senate Chairman Sanj­rani became acting president after President Dr Arif Alvi proceeded to Saudi Arabia for Haj.

Unlike President Alvi, acting President Sanjrani took no time in signing the bills.

In recent past, President Alvi refused to give his assent to several bills that could either benefit the coalition government or go against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

In June 2022, President Alvi returned unsigned a bill seeking to reverse controversial changes made in election laws by the previous PTI government regarding the use of electronic voting mach­in­­es and E-voting for overseas Pakistanis. He ter­med the bill “regressive” in nature.

In April this year, he returned the Supreme Court (Practice and Pro­cedure) Bill, 2023 aimed at clipping the powers of Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice and constitute benches on his own.

According to the ame­ndment to Section 232 (Qualifications and Dis­q­u­alifications) of the Elec­tions Act, a permanent bar or disqualification of a member is against “the letter and spirit of Islam” as well as the Constitution.

The Finance Bill was passed after the government had made several changes, including fiscal tightening measures, dictated by IMF in a last-ditch effort to secure critical funding.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2023

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