Nawaz Sharif
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On Tuesday, ousted Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif was re-elected the president of PML-N, standing unopposed at the Convention Centre in Islamabad, reclaiming his position as the head of his namesake party.

The Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday approved an amendment to the party’s constitution which allows a disqualified member of the Parliament to head the party.

Legislators are elected to make actionable laws in the larger interests of the people. Eyebrows are raised when all unite to defend a person caught in the act by the highest court of law

The meeting of the party’s general counsel was 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 gathering of charged party members, Sharif thanked the people for repealing the law which barred disqualified politicians from holding office in a party.

While talking about his disqualification Nawaz said, “If they were not able to find anything in Panama [Papers], they should have told people the truth that we found nothing in Panama, thus we are going to take him out with an iqama.”

Read more: Survival Strategy: Nawaz Sharif files Review petitions with the Supreme Court

Premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi termed it a historic day and boasted of his party’s achievements in last four years. Ever since the Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, the ruling party has on each and every forum talked about the importance of democracy prevailing in the country. Unfortunately, these calls ring hollow after yesterday’s reversal in their own Party’s constitution, specifically in order for Nawaz to be re-elected as leader of the party.

Why it is not a ‘historic day’?

The swearing in of Nawaz Sharif once again as the head of the ruling party, PML-N, raises three questions. Democracy cannot function without accountability and constitutionalism; if anything, these are the most important hallmarks of a true democracy. It is questionable as to why any person punished for his violation of the Constitution is venerated, protected and deemed a hero?

When lawmakers inside the Parliament and political parties cobble up to ostensibly save their skins instead of using their legal powers to devise laws to address issues of the people

It must be stressed that notwithstanding, the tightening of the legal noose around Sharif, he still retains control over the party and government. Despite being disqualified to take part in politics, Sharif has been active, not only did he nominate his successor as Prime minister, he continues to pull the strings. He is consulted, revered and remains the de-facto head of the party and the government. Accountability is nowhere on the scene.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif and the Supreme Court’s decision

The second question pertains to how the Sharifs are the be-all and the end-all of the PML-N. While political parties are expected to be embodiments of democracy by devolving and distributing powers within the party, the PML-N is dominated by Sharif and his kith and kin. This concerns many of those who call the PML-N a private limited company owned by the Sharif family.

The Parliament has hardly expedited legislation for the general good of the people, thereby leaving little incentive for people to repose trust in the legislators and respect for the Constitution

In a bid to retain more control over the government, the PML-N fielded Ms. Kulsoom Nawaz as the candidate for the all-important NA-120 seat, despite the fact that the former first lady is suffering from cancer and was unable to campaign and so far represent that constituency. The nomination of Ms. Kulsoom instead of other dedicated members of the party and the domineering rule played by Maryam Nawaz in party affairs is another testament to how the Sharifs run the party.

Regardless of who launched Articles 62 and 63 in the Constitution, the fact remains that all lawmakers across the globe are expected to be honest and truthful; these qualities do not require sanctions from Islam. The Parliament has hardly expedited legislation for the general good of the people, thereby leaving little incentive for people to repose trust in the legislators and respect for the Constitution.

Read more: Will PML-N’s war of words against Army & judiciary save Nawaz…

In a bid to retain more control over the government, the PML-N fielded Ms. Kulsoom Nawaz as the candidate for the all-important NA-120 seat, despite the fact that the former first lady is suffering from cancer

Even the intra-party power dynamics in the PML-N are contrary to the basic principles of democracy, something which the party claims to defend from the onslaught of anti-democratic forces. The most important question that arises is how lawmakers use the Constitution. Legislators are elected to make actionable laws in the larger interests of the people. Eyebrows are raised when all unite to defend a person caught in the act by the highest court of law.

The idea that any person under charges of corruption can continue to run a political party is unthinkable in democracies all around the globe. This contradiction does not worry the PML-N leaders when they speak about defending democracy. When lawmakers inside the Parliament and political parties cobble up to ostensibly save their skins instead of using their legal powers to devise laws to resolve issues of the people. In doing so the trust the people repose in them ends up losing all trust they have for Parliament, the constitution and democracy.

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