The National Assembly speaker on Friday notified the much-talked about 33-member electoral reforms committee after the lower house’s secretariat received the list of senators nominated from the upper house of parliament.
“National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has constituted a 33-member Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform to evaluate the shortcomings of the previous electoral process and make recommendations to hold free, fair and transparent elections,” reads the notification issued by the NA Secretariat.
The committee, comprising members of all parties in proportion to their representation in parliament, will submit a report in three months. Earlier, the speaker had finalised the names of 22 MNAs for the committee and had asked the Senate chairman to submit 11 more names.
There were reports that the PML-N would appoint Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid as chairman of the committee.
But a senior PML-N member told The Express Tribune that Ishaq Dar – who is also tipped as a top contender – could lead the committee and Hamid would assist on technical issues. “Because in case Hamid is made chairperson, he will not be in a position to reveal his legal wisdom,” he added.
However, another senior PML-N member said his party had no desire to appoint the PML-N members as head of the committee and the committee would elect its chairman in its first meeting.
In June, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sent a letter to the NA speaker requesting the constitution of a parliamentary committee to propose constitutional amendments and introduction of an e-voting system in order to address loopholes in the electoral process.
The house, under Rule 244(B) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, authorised the speaker to constitute the committee in consultation with the Senate chairman and leaders of the parliamentary parties.
The lawmakers from the lower house on the committee are Zahid Hamid, Anusha Rehman Khan Advocate, Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Abdul Hakeem Baloch, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Abdul Rahim Mandokhail, Naeema Kishwar Khan, Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi, Ghaus Bux Khan Mahar, Syed Ghazi Ghulab Jamal, Usman Khan Tarakai, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Ejazul Haq, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shazia Mari, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Shafqat Mehmood, Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Arif Alvi and Dr Farooq Sattar.
Similarly, the senators on the committee include Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Muhammad Talha Mehmood, Hilalur Rehman, Aitzaz Ahsan, Mian Raza Rabbani, Farooq Hamid Naek, Haji Adeel, Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri, Mushahid Hussain Syed and Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi.
Meanwhile, President Mamnoon has summoned the National Assembly and Senate sessions, respectively, on August 4 and August 8.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2014.