Islamabad, (IANS) Pakistan’s ruling PML-N on Tuesday re-elected ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as its chief months after the country’s top court disqualified him from holding any public office, party officials said.
Sharif’s election came hours after after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s central working committee approved an amendment to the party’s constitution, paving Sharif’s way to lead the party, Dawn online reported.
PML-N leader Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry submitted Sharif’s papers for party president in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) while no one other candidate from the party contested the election.
The formal announcement was made at the party’s general council meeting at Convention Centre here by the PML-N’s chief election commissioner Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal. The crowd erupted in thunderous applause as soon as Sharif’s name was announced as the party president amid chants of “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!”
Sharif will later address the meeting, which is being attended by all senior PML-N leaders including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Addressing the crowd, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi termed the occasion a “historic day”.
The premier said he is proud to be among the few people who witnessed the moment Sharif took his place as the party chairman for the first time.
Abbasi presented an “open challenge to all the dictators and PPP” to compare the development work carried out by them with that of the PML-N.
On Monday, the PML-N 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 law was passed to allow the party to re-elect the disqualified former Prime Minister as party chief, on the eve of a party convention called for the express purpose of electing Sharif to the post.
The bill was cleared by the Lower House within minutes amidst ugly scenes, as opposition members gathered around the speaker’s podium, chanting slogans, tearing up copies of the bill and flinging them towards the dais.
Sharif had relinquished the position of PML-N chief after his ouster from power under the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.