PM tasks Farogh to review vote reform law

It transpires that law minister was not consulted during drafting of electoral reforms bills


Saqib Virk July 14, 2021
PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The electoral reforms bill that the PTI government recently sailed through the National Assembly had not been drafted in consultation with Federal Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem.

This emerged during a meeting that Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired to discuss the objections to the piece of legislation raised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and opposition parties.
According to sources, it was revealed during the meeting that the federal law minister had not been made part of the consultations when the bills were being drafted.

Premier Imran Khan, who reportedly agreed to some of the points raised by the ECP and the opposition parties, later sent a letter to Dr Farogh Naseem to review the legislation along with other legal experts.
After the review, the government will bring amendments to its own legislation.

Despite the opposition boycotting the session, the government on June 10 succeeded in passing 21 bills from the National Assembly including two bills related to vote reforms.

These bills allowed Senate polls to be held through open ballot; created reserved seats for female members of religious minorities and allowed demarcation of constituencies on the basis of registered votes instead of population.
They also granted dual citizens the right to vote; permitted use of technology in elections and conditionally allowed dual nationals to participate in polls.

Opposing the bills, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said everyone wanted to give the right to vote to Pakistanis living abroad but for that the government should have taken the opposition into confidence. “If you talked to us, we would support you,” he had said.

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