Monday Jun 14, 2021
PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday said that his party supports the representation of overseas Pakistanis in parliament.
"Pakistanis settled abroad are our country's assets," said Iqbal.
He said that there are several proposals regarding how the votes of overseas Pakistanis can be guaranteed protection, which must be implemented after a national consensus.
Iqbal said that this will be imperative in ensuring there is no foreign intervention such as the one that was witnessed in the US elections.
The PML-N leader said that several questions had arisen regarding the transparency of the next elections after the government's move to bypass the Election Commission of Pakistan and "unilaterally" introduce electronic voting.
The government's controversial election bill has based constituencies on voter registration rather than population in an attempt to "reduce representation" of backward areas and women, which will have serious implications for the federation, he said.
He said that the constitutionally mandated right of the Election Commission to guard voter lists had been handed over to National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) which is a clear violation of the Constitution.
Iqbal further said that the government, by "manipulating" the voter lists, seeks to "rig the elections".
To date, no unilateral changes have been made in the election laws in any democratic era, said the PML-N leader. This was only done in the martial law periods where "positive results" were desired, he added.
He said that if the current government's electoral laws are accepted, then every future government will try to "steal the election" by changing the election laws.
PML-N had participated in the passing of reforms before the 2018 elections with the consultation and consensus of all parties, including the PTI, Iqbal said.
He said that after the 2018 elections experience, it is of paramount importance that the next elections are free and transparent so that the country is not mired in another crisis.
Iqbal said that for this, the PML-N has suggested that the Election Commission invite all parties to form a consensus so that a law agreed by all is passed through parliament.
He said that the government, by running a baseless campaign pertaining to the rights of overseas Pakistanis and by passing the Jadhav bill, seeks to divert the nation's attention from all the other "illegal" amendments to electoral reforms which is a mockery of the country's honour and security.