Govt finalises amendments to election law for empowering interim setup


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led federal government has proposed 54 amendments to Election Act 2017 to empower the caretaker government and ensure transparency in the electoral process, it emerged on Tuesday.

Under the amendments, the federal government has proposed granting the interim setup additional powers to take important decisions related to the country’s economy.

Moreover, the proposed legislation sought to empower the caretaker government to engage or sign agreements with international institutions.

Sources told Geo News that the bill be tabled in the joint session of parliament tomorrow (Wednesday).

The development comes amid speculations that the ruling PML-N is trying to evolve a consensus among coalition partners on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s name for caretaker prime minister.

Dar in an interview with a local TV channel said that the Election Act, 2017 will be amended to enable the interim ruler to make important decisions

Dar — when asked if section 230 of the election law would be amended — replied in the affirmative and said the country could not be handed over to a government for day-to-day decisions.

He further said the matter need not be hidden from people since they would find out anyways.

Moreover, he said: “…but I think that whoever takes on this responsibility, it would not be appropriate to spend three months of the nation on day-to-day decisions.”

Addressing the joint session of parliament earlier today, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the proposed amendments in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Bill have been finalised in consultation with all the political parties to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

He said on the flood of the house that the Election Act 2017 was prepared with great effort.

Presiding officers would hold the election results for two or three days which raised questions over the transparency of elections, he added.

Tarar also said all pending bills should be passed by the legislature as the National Assembly is completing its constitutional term on August 12.

He also rejected the notion that the government was amending the election act secretly.

The federal minister told the joint sitting that a special committee led by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq having representation of various political parties, held a series of meetings for thorough deliberations on the amendments.

The members, including Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr Fahmida Mirza, Chaudhary Tariq Bashir Cheema, Syed Amin-ul-Haque, Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla, Agha Hassan Baloch, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Senator Taj Haider, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Manzoor Ahmed, and Senator Syed Ali Zafar actively participated in the discussions, he added.

The law minister said the bill was examined clause by clause by the committee members, whose written submissions were included in the final report.

Tarar asserted that all the amendments were prepared with consensus, reflecting a harmonious approach from all the political parties.