Electoral reforms committee to convene after Eidul Fitr

The government may give chairmanship of the committee to an opposition party to pacify PTI, says adviser to PM


Azam Khan July 27, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has decided to summon the first meeting of the newly constituted 33-member parliamentary committee on electoral reforms after Eidul Fitr.

The committee has been formed to evaluate shortcomings of the previous electoral process and provide recommendations to hold transparent elections.

According to an official of the NA Secretariat, the meeting has been postponed owing to delays by Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari in forwarding the list of 11 parliamentarians to Speaker National Assembly.

A chairman will be elected during the committee’s first meeting while a second meeting will also be called to decide modalities of the committee.

“To pacify the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the government can give the chairmanship of the committee to an opposition party,” an adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told The Express Tribune.

According to political observers, nine members of the 33-member electoral reforms committee were previously members of the parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms, which came up with the historic 18th Amendment.

Besides independent candidates, 18 political parties have representation in the National Assembly.

“Can you believe that only three parties have been ignored in the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms -- Balochistan National Party (Mengal), National Party (they have representation in the Senate) and General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League?” a political observer commented.

Further, 10 political parties have representation in Senate, out of which nine parties plus independents have representation in the 33-member electoral reforms committee. National Party is the only party with no representation and the sole addition (that has no representation in the NA) is BNP-Awami.

Executive Director of Center for Civic Education Zafarullah Khan told The Express Tribune that the 33-member electoral reforms committee has zero representation from minorities.

“Will the majority once again decide about the minorities?” he asked.

Khan also said that the committee only has four women MPs, namely PML-N's Nawaz’s Anusha Rehman, JUI-F’s Naeema Kishwar, PPP’s Shazia Mari and PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari.

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