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ECP made complete autonomous: Zahid Hamid.

ISLAMABAD -- Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Zahid Hamid on Friday said that we have made the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) complete autonomous and given financial and administrative powers.

He expressed these views while addressing a press conference at National Assembly after the signing ceremony of electoral reforms report in the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER).

The Minister informed the media persons that, 'We are working on rules side by side. This achievement has been gained after the exhaustive hard work of two and a half years. We received 123 proposals from civil society, lawyers and general public. These proposals were considered and re-circulate. Then, again we received 631 proposals and considered.'

He also added that, 'The overseas Pakistanis have right of vote .We want their participation in election process. We arranged mock exercise of voting through our missions abroad to check the technical issues like financial, secrecy and security. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members were with us in every meeting previously.'

He further explained the some important laws in electoral reforms bill 2017. He said, 'The officials of ECP will also take oath for fair elections. The sensitive polling stations will have surveillance cameras. Now, uniform nomination form will be used for senate and national assembly except few specific details. There shall also be uniform formula for number of ballot paper for every polling station.'

He said, 'Results will be signed by the higher officers of election commission and presiding officer. Previously toss was used to declare winning candidate when two candidates had equal votes, but now toss will be deciding factor that first half term will be served which candidate. Candidates will submit the tax and wealth statement.'

He said, 'The fee for new political parties has been increased. The caretaker government will decide day-to-day matters and non-controversial issues. The caretaker government will also submit their financial and tax statements. This new law will also ensure to invite international observer when elections are held.'

He also highlighted that, 'New electoral reform bill ensure more participation of women in electoral process. The parties will give 5 percent tickets to women candidates. It's an historical achievement through such a consultative process.

Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar also talked to media and said, 'This electoral reform has consolidated the election reforms. The electoral reforms bill 2017 will be represented in both houses and new elections will be held under new laws.'

The press conference was also attended by Federal Minister for IT Anusha Rehman and Senator Mushahidullah.

Earlier, the PCER adopted the Elections Bill 2017 aimed at making the electoral process free, fair and transparent. By signing its report, the PCER has merged eight existing laws relating to elections in the Elections Bill.

These include Electoral Rolls Act 1974, Delimitation of Constituencies Act 1974, Senate Election Act 1975; Representation of the People Act 1976,Election Commission Order 2002, Conduct of General Elections Order 2002, Political Parties Order 2002 and Allocation of Symbols Order 2002.

Major reforms envisaged in the bill include strengthening of the Election Commission, which would be fully independent and autonomous. It has been delegated powers of the High Court for specific directions, administrative powers to control transfer of election officials and disciplinary action against them, full financial powers and powers to make rules without prior approval of the President.

The Commission would prepare a comprehensive Action Plan six months before the elections specifying all legal and administrative measures for the conduct of elections. It would establish a transparent Result Management System for expeditious counting, compilation and dissemination of the election results.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 22, 2017
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