Monday May 03, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, in a joint press conference on Monday, shared details of the government's plan for electoral reforms to ensure transparency and fairness in the election process.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has proposed as many as 49 amendments to the Election (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
During Monday's press conference the two government officials gave a break down of what the amendments are.
Awan said the reforms agenda envisages a series of amendments to the constitution and the Election Act 2017. He said the reforms agenda will be put forth before stakeholders, including the civil society, media and bar councils and associations.
Under the reforms, the adviser on parliamentary affairs said section 103 is being amended to allow the use of electronic voting machines to check rigging in the elections.
He said section 94 will be amended to give the right of franchise to overseas Pakistanis.
Awan stressed that there should also be democracy within political parties.
An amendment in section 202 proposes that political parties having representation of ten thousand members be able to get themselves registered. A new section of 213A is also being introduced making it compulsory on political parties to hold their annual conventions. An amendment in section 15 will provide an opportunity to the candidates to challenge the polling staff.
It was also proposed that the electoral rolls be prepared on the basis of registration data available with NADRA. Awan said the government wants the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of registered voters.
The adviser on parliamentary affairs said two constitutional amendments will also be brought with the aim to ensure open ballot in the Senate and allow overseas Pakistanis to contest the elections.
One major amendment proposes more financial autonomy for the Election Commission of Pakistan.
If the opposition parties are not ready for the electoral reforms, it will impede the process of political and democratic development, Chaudhry said.
He said the government wants to get the reforms passed from Parliament through consensus.
The information minister said it is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan that all political parties sit together to carry out the electoral reforms.
He said the reforms will enhance the confidence of the people, political parties and intelligentsia on the election process.