Law minister hints at amending election laws

ISLAMABAD: Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar has said that the government is seriously considering to amend the election laws for ensuring transparent polls in the country.

“We are seriously thinking and carefully examining that at least those amendments should be included which already have the consensus,” said the minister while addressing a stakeholder’s conference on “Electoral Transparency” jointly hosted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) and Fredrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

Defending the government’s intentions to delay the elections, Mr Tarar said elections were very important but they needed to see the environment too. He regretted that unfortunately the successive governments did not give importance to the local government elections which were key for democracy and democratic process.

PPP Senator Taj Haider said the census and delimitations were key ingredients for free and fair elections in any country but no one talked about these issues.

Mustafa Kamal, a senior leader of the Muttehida Qaumi Movement, said his party boycotted the latest local government elections in Karachi as the latest census was not being carried out transparently. He also complained about “serious flaws” in the delimitations in Karachi, stating that there was great disparity among union councils in terms of registered voters. He said there was a dire need that all the political stakeholders should sit together to resolve the issues.

Senator Anwar Kakar from Balochistan was of the view that holding of elections in two provinces would further complicate the political crisis.

PTI’s Ali Nawaz Awan said the previous Imran Khan government wanted to bring transparency in the electoral process by introducing electronic voting machines, but the move was opposed by the parties.

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob from Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development (Pildat) said one party had already announced its distrust over the chief election commissioner and feared that this stance would be damaging for the credibility of upcoming elections.

Fredrick Neumann representative Birgit Lamm said clean election processes were the backbone of democracy. She said currently it was a crisis situation in the country and for continuing peaceful development in this part of the world fair elections were very important. She said in absence of clean election processes no one would accept the election results and this would lead to more cases in the courts.

“There should not be a debate whether we have money or not for elections. It’s a priority,” she said.

Published in Dawn