Federal Cabinet to present electoral reforms in Parliament

Federal Cabinet to present electoral reforms in Parliament

The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday discussed Electoral Reforms, expected to be presented to the Parliament next month for enactment after fine tuning.

Its meeting was held in Islamabad today with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair.

Later, jointly briefing newsmen Minister for Law Zahid Hamid and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said recommendations for electoral reforms have been prepared with consensus by the Parliamentary Committee.

The Law Minister said the Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms would mull over required constitutional amendments before presentation of the reforms to the Parliament for necessary legislation.

Giving details, he said the recommendations envisage total financial, administrative and functional autonomy for the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Commission would be empowered to take disciplinary action against officials deputed from other departments and ministries for election purpose.

The Commission would be required to prepare a comprehensive action plan for polls six months ahead of elections to seek input and objections from the political parties and candidates. A formal complaint system would be introduced to lodge complaints about malpractices before elections and their redressal.

Votes would be counted and result compiled at the polling station and Form-14 containing results would be transmitted to the Returning Officer and the Election Commission through a mobile application to ensure prompt transmission of results.

In case victory margin is less than five percent or ten thousand votes then the losing candidate can demand recounting there and then and recounting would be mandatory.

A uniform system of printing of ballot papers would be introduced.

Under the reforms package, name of a citizen would be automatically registered as a voter once he is issued a computerized national identity card.

Special measures would be undertaken to encourage enlistment of women voters in case there is difference of more than ten percent in the number of male and female votes.

Political parties would be required to allot five percent tickets to women candidates.

The reforms envisage delimitation of constituencies every ten year. Delimitation would be done after census but if census is delayed than electoral rolls would form basis for delimitation.

There is also a proposal to enforce a criteria for registration of political parties with the ECP.

Caretaker Government would not have powers to make long term decisions or policies.

Replying to questions, the Minister of State for Information said 46 modern hospitals would be established in different parts of the country.

She said compensation for those martyred during Indian firing on the Working Boundary has been increased to five hundred thousand rupees and one hundred and fifty thousand for seriously injured. Additional bunkers would also be constructed on the boundary to ensure safety of those living in border areas.

The cabinet approved a 30 point agenda.