Show seriousness for electoral reforms

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IT was in July 2014 that an across-the-board parliamentary committee was constituted to frame law aimed at ensuring fairness and transparency in the elections. This was done following certain political parties especially Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf raised serious questions on credibility of the 2013 general election that also saw the party staging a prolonged sit-in in the Capital.
It is, however, lamentable that despite passage of so many months, the parliamentary committee has failed to make any positive headway. Its meeting on Wednesday once again remained inconclusive. The committee has so far held 24 meetings while the sub-committee formed under Law Minister Zahid Hamid has had 87 sessions but differences amongst parties still persist on some critical issues including the use of biometric machines and the modus operandi for grant of voting right to overseas Pakistanis. All this implies that the parties including the ruling and the opposition are not at all interested to bring in the much-needed reforms which in fact are necessary to establish the sanctity of electoral process. Also concerned over the inordinate delay, the ECP had also recently written a letter to Speaker National Assembly warning that time is running out for enactment of electoral reforms if political parties want next general election to be held under new laws. As political parties have entered into election mode for next year’s elections, the ECP also requires time to make arrangements on the ground in order to ensure the conduct of elections as per new laws. We, therefore, will urge the parties to rise above their vested interests, stop point scoring and rather show seriousness towards the process as the country cannot afford crisis-like situation that emerges after every election with the losing party always resorting to allegations of rigging and irregularities. The reforms must plug all the loopholes to ensure fair elections so that nobody could question their transparency.