Electoral reforms ensure election process credibility
Associated Press Of Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, May 07 —The present government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was determined to introduce reforms in the electoral system with the use of the latest technology to bring transparency and credibility to the election process.
According to the central leadership of PTI, the present government wants to introduce electronic voting machines (EVMs), which would help increase the trust of the people, political parties, and civil society in the electoral process.
They said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited the opposition to sit with them for having a discussion on electoral reforms and the use of new technology like electronic voting machines to restore elections credibility.
They said that the use of technology in the election process would strengthen the democratic system in the country and satisfy all political parties. They said that unfortunately, no substantive reforms were put in place in the past and added that technology and the use of Electronic Voting Machines are the only answer to reclaim credibility of elections.
Central leader Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Aamir Mehmood Kiani said that the electoral reforms are the only solution to address the objections related to the rigging in the election.
He said, “Our government is determined and we will put in place reforms in our electoral system through the use of technology to bring transparency and credibility to our elections and strengthen our democracy.”
He said that PM Imran Khan observed that apart from the 1970 elections, doubts over the credibility of results had been raised in every election. He added for a year now we have been asking the Opposition to cooperate with the government and help reform our present electoral system.
He said, “We should talk on electoral reforms and electronic voting machines, which are the best options to avail to hold a free, fair, and transparent election.” He said that all technical issues can be resolved in the use of electronic voting machines with the start of the dialogue process.
He added country needs such technology to make rigging free elections in the country. He said that it was high time that the government and opposition should sit together to have a dialogue on electoral reforms.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill has called upon all the political stakeholders to come forward and sit together with the government for constituting electoral reforms.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was highly supportive and vocal for the last more than two decades to bring transparency and fairness to the country’s electoral system.
He said that the Prime Minister had taken the decision in principle and the next general election would be held on the basis of election reforms.
Ahmad Jawad from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that all political parties should support these efforts of the government to ensure transparency in the election process.
Member parliament PTI Sher Ali Arbab said that political consultation is necessary to start using electronic voting machines to hold transparent elections.
He said that EVMs would ensure quick and early results instead of having to wait till midnight and the other reforms were meant to increase the trust of the people, political parties, and civil society in the electoral process.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has constituted a high-level committee to contact parliamentary parties regarding electoral reforms. In a statement, the speaker said that electoral reforms are imperative to gain public trust in the electoral process.
He said that completing the process of electoral reforms before the next election would ensure transparency and fairness.
It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet has approved an ordinance for having election reforms to ensure transparency in the election process.
The government’s electoral reforms consisted of four parts- the use of EVMs, introducing e-voting for overseas Pakistanis, biometric mechanism, and legislation.
The federal government has unveiled a series of amendments to the Constitution, laws, and the Election Act 2017 as part of its electoral reform agenda in order to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections in the future and end the controversy and allegations of rigging forever.
The government has proposed amendments in few sections of the Election Act, 2017.
These included Section 103, which would be amended to ensure the use of the EVMs while the relevant section would also be amended for the right to vote to the overseas Pakistanis.
Section 202 about the enlistment of political parties would also be amended, requiring a political party to submit a list of at least 10,000 members with their signatures or thumb impressions along with copies of their computerized national identity cards (CNICs) and enlistment fee.
A new Section 213-A would be added to the Election Act, 2017, making it compulsory for the registered political parties to hold their annual conventions. Also, Section 15 – complaints against polling staff – would be amended to enable candidates to challenge the appointment of polling staff within 15 days.
Moreover, future delimitations would be held on the basis of the number of registered voters rather than the population, while electoral rolls will be prepared on the basis of computerized national identity cards (CNICs) data of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
According to another proposed amendment, an elected member of the national or the provincial legislature would have to take oath within 60 days after the election, otherwise, the seat would be declared vacant. Similarly, more financial autonomy has been suggested for the ECP.