Electoral reforms must to ensure transparency, strengthening of democracy: Babar

Staff Reporter

Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan Friday said, the government proposed amendment in Section 94 of Election Act to extend the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

This was one of the long standing demand of overseas Pakistanis, he said adding “Democracy should be seen in political parties,”.

The government’s announcement of a comprehensive reform package including 49 revisions, amendments and deletion of clauses to the Election Act of 2017 was a positive step.

Awan however opined that a new section, Section 213(A), was being introduced which would make it mandatory for political parties to hold annual conventions where people could speak up and give their comments on the performance of the party and its leaders.

According to Awan another reform would be for electoral rolls to be prepared on the basis of registration data with Nadra.

Section 103 of the Election Act 2017 is also being amended to enable the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the elections to resolve the issue of rigging.

This measure, he said, would make people to fear, who resorted to illicit and fake means in the election process.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken a revolutionary step for electoral reforms and the introduction of EVMs would change country’s electoral system in the future.

Prime Minister intended to provide level playing field to all political parties. In this regard, the government was adopting consensus based approach by contacting all political parties to ensure seamless legislation, he maintained.

He said that there was nothing secret in the machine and its only purpose was to bring transparency to the electoral process. “Even the ECP is opting for technological change for improving electoral process,” the minister said.

The PTI government, he said, after coming into power bore the torch of reforms in electoral process and its successive initiatives provided a ray of hope for overhauling of the electoral system.

The government in its three years performance report also highlighted the initiatives taken for electoral reforms being spearheaded by the Prime Minister for ensuring transparent, free and fair elections.

A government Bill on electoral reforms titled “Election (amendments) Bill 2020” as approved by the Cabinet was introduced in the National Assembly, which after consideration has passed and transmitted it to the Senate.

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