Nawaz Sharif has been re-elected as the president of the ruling PML-N in Pakistan.
Soon after his re-election, the ousted Pakistan prime minister demanded that those who disqualified him should respect the people’s mandate and democracy.
Sharif, 67, had to step down as the chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after he was disqualified as the prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal.
Addressing a gathering of party members at the Convention Centre in Islamabad, Sharif said his supporters kept reelecting him to power despite his ousters from the office.
The PML-N on Monday took full advantage of its position as the ruling party as President Mamnoon Hussain signed the controversial Election Act 2017 into law hours after it was bulldozed through the National Assembly amid pandemonium on the opposition benches, the Dawn reported.
The law was passed to allow the party to re-elect Sharif as its head, on the eve of a party convention called for the express purpose of electing Sharif to the post. Earlier, under The Representation of Peoples Act 1976, a disqualified person could not hold office of a party.
Sharif in his address to his supporters, thanked the people for repealing the law which barred disqualified politicians from holding office in a party.
“I would like to thank the people for throwing this law back,” said Sharif.
Sharif said he had been disqualified for “not receiving salary from his son”, but the violation of the Constitution by four dictators during the country’s history was declared legal.
Sharif said he has proposed a grand national dialogue to focus on restoring the people’s mandate as “only those should govern who the people vote for.”
“The people will decide through their vote [in general elections of 2018] who is qualified and who is unqualified,” he said.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi termed Sharif’s return as party president a “historic day”.
But Sharif’s fate as party president still hangs in balance as Pakistan Awami Tehreek party has challenged the new law in the Lahore High Court, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and other parties have announced to challenge it in the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from agencies)