Electoral reforms body holds maiden meeting, setting stage for polls

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms held its maiden meeting on Thursday, setting the stage for elections.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was elected as the committee’s chairman who wasted no time in reminding the members of the limited time they had left to accomplish their task. “We have only 10 days left,” he said, emphasizing the need for swift action.

The primary objective of the committee was to spearhead vital electoral reforms, but it was also entrusted with addressing other pressing issues such as the ongoing census.

Senator Taj Haider pointed out that the accuracy of the census was paramount as it would lay the foundation for fair elections. “If the census is correct, then the election will be fair,” he said.

Coommittee Chairman Ayaz Sadiq stressed the urgency to complete the electoral reforms before August 13. “These reforms would require the approval of both houses of Parliament,” he said underscoring the significance of the committee’s work.

The committee decided to establish key task oriented result groups. These specialized teams would delve into specific aspects of electoral reform, ensuring a comprehensive and efficient process.

Federal Minister Naveed Qamar urged the committee to provide the latest version of the Elections Act. He further emphasized the need to incorporate any amendments already made into the proposals, reinforcing the importance of an up-to-date and comprehensive legislative framework.

The committee has also sought documents from previous electoral reform committees to enable the members to build upon the work already undertaken and avoid reinventing the wheel.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs secretary was asked to actively participate in every meeting.

The committee has called its next meeting on Tuesday to achieve the task.

Committee Chairman Ayaz Sadiq assured the members that the next general election would be held on time, dispelling any fears of a delay.

He also expressed his intent to thoroughly review the entire Election Act, ensuring that it remained relevant and effective. By presenting the agreed documents to support their proposals, the committee aimed to establish a robust foundation for future electoral processes, he said.

Sadiq announced that the planning minister would engage the planning commission in addressing the census issue. He stressed that the 2017 census, now granted legal status until 2023, could potentially impact the forthcoming elections, leaving the final decision pending.

The committee vowed to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit for a fair and transparent democratic system.

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