10 millions eligible woman voters off lists
Following the passage of Election Reforms Act , Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has written a letter to the government for delimitation of constituencies as prelude to the next general elections due to be held next year.
Secretary ECP Babar Yaqoob stated this while addressing a seminar here on Electoral Reforms Act. “Questions will be raised if the next general elections are held without delimitation of new constituencies, he ordered.
Yaqoob said the ECP has objected to some portions of the newly-passed law, explaining that the poor will be deprived of contesting polls according to the new law.
Secretary ECP said the lawmakers delayed the passing of this crucial law, adding that once the Census 2017 results are finalized, the new electoral constituencies would be formed.
The secretary however admitted that the new act has given more powers to the ECP, making it more powerful and autonomous. The ECP has got the powers now which the commission in India does not enjoy, he said. “Election Act 2017 is a step in the right direction”, he said.
Talking about the electronic voting machines (EVM), Yaqoob claimed the experiment of using BVMs will not succeed in the country for its high costs but added that a policy on the matter is being devised.
He shared that the use of BVMs in the NA-120 by-election in Lahore last month showed the anomalies of the system, as the 10-12 per cent of voters could not verify their thumb impressions whereas overall the National Data and Registration Authority (NADRA) does not have around 12.5 million registered voters.
Responding to a question, Yaqoob said that the ECP has the discretion to take contempt of court notice.
To another question, the secretary said it is our national failure that ten million women are not registered as voters. He said the ECP will start an awareness campaign for registration of women voters. He regretted that the political leadership does not recognize the registration of women an issue.