Govt unveils proposed electoral reforms to ensure transparency in election process

Govt unveils proposed electoral reforms to ensure transparency in election process

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government has prepared an electoral reforms agenda to ensure transparency and fairness in the election process, says Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary.

Addressing a press conference alongside Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan in Islamabad on Monday, the minister shared details of the electoral reforms agenda, the Radio Pakistan reported.

Babar Awan said the reforms agenda envisages a series of amendments to the constitution and the Election Act 2017.

He said reforms agenda will be put forth before the stakeholders including the civil society, the media and bar councils and associations for their inputs.

“Under the reforms package, section 103 is being amended to allow the use of electronic voting machines to check rigging in the elections,” the PM’s aid said, adding that section 94 will be amended to give the right of franchise to the overseas Pakistanis.

The adviser on parliamentary affairs stressed that there should also be democracy within the political parties. Therefore, it has been decided to bring an amendment in section 202 under which the political parties having representation of ten thousand members will be able to get themselves registered.

“A new section of 213A is also being introduced making it compulsory on the political parties to hold their annual conventions,” Awan said, adding that amendment in section 15 will provide an opportunity to the candidates to challenge the polling staff.

Babar Awan said it is also being proposed that the electoral rolls be prepared on the basis of registration data available with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

He added that the government also wants the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of registered voters.

“Two constitutional amendments will also be brought with the aim to ensure open ballot in the Senate and allow the overseas Pakistanis to contest the elections,” the adviser said, adding that the reforms agenda also envisages the proposal of further empowering the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Fawad Chaudhary said that the government wants to get the reforms agenda passed from the parliament through consensus.

He said if the opposition parties are not ready for the reforms, it will impede the process of political and democratic development.

The minister said it is the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan that the political parties sit together to carry out the electoral reforms.

“Reforms will enhance the confidence of the people, political parties and intelligentsia on the election process,” Chaudhry said.

The minister defended the use of electronic voting machines in the election saying it will ensure early results.