PM for constituting multi-party committee to review election reform bill

ISLAMABAD, Mar 17 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday asked the National Assembly Speaker in a letter to form a multi-party committee to review the election reform bill tabled by the government several months back.
The current corruption ridden system exposed so badly in the recent Senate elections needed urgent change, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said in a tweet while sharing the copy of the letter written by the Prime Minister Imran Khan to National Assembly Speaker.
Addressing the Speaker, the Prime Minister said “we have submitted a bill for meaningful electoral reforms to remove the prevailing stigma attached to our electoral process. I would request you to immediately form’ an inter-party parliamentary committee to discuss these reforms and come to an agreement on how to introduce best practices including the use of technology and introduction of EVMs to strengthen our electoral system and democracy”.
He also suggested a time frame for reaching agreement on all the issues that had marred the transparency of elections so that enough time could be given to institute the required reforms before the next general elections.
Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out that it was in the interest of democracy in the country to establish a credible and transparent electoral system and put an end to all venues that allow for corrupt practices that are eroding the parliamentary democracy.
He said the recent Senate elections had highlighted once again the scourge of vote purchasing in the prevailing non-transparent manner of conducting elections. “I have always demanded electoral reforms to ensure transparent fair and free elections at all levels,” the Prime Minister wrote to the Speaker.
He said “in the context of the Senate, my party and I asked for open ballots to ensure transparency and fairness given how Senate elections had achieved notoriety as being a major market for purchase of votes.”
“We introduced a bill in the National Assembly and went to the Supreme Court. The latter in its judgment asked the ECP to ensure transparent fair and free elections and slated that secrecy of the ballot was not absolute. Unfortunately the ECP paid no heed to the SC judgment and failed to carry out fair and free Senate elections.”
The Prime Minister said “the malaise of our prevailing electoral system including but not limited to the free flow of money to purchase votes, has been the subject of critique after all elections with the losers declaring the results to have been rigged”.
This, he said has now begun to destroy the entire credibility of all elections in Pakistan casting a shadow of doubt over our entire democratic process as well as the functioning of our parliamentary system.

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