Electoral Reforms Committee abandons proposal to ban political party

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Minister of Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar announced on Thursday that the Electoral Reforms Committee has abandoned the proposal to make parliament as the supreme authority on the dissolution of a political party or the expulsion of any party member.

Tarar spoke to the media after the committee meeting and stated that 99% of the work had been completed, with the remaining 1% consisting of non-politically contentious issues.

He said that the committee, constituted by the coalition government, held its first working session on Thursday and conducted in-camera discussions on approximately 70 proposed amendments to the Elections Act of 2017.

“The proposals included various issues, including the delayed announcement of election results and the transfer of the authority to ban a political party to parliament,” he added.

Tarar said that during the committee’s third in-camera meeting, “the chairman thoughtfully resolved 99% of the issues,” leaving only technical and legal matters for further consideration.

He said that Senator Ali Zafar from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who did not attend the Tuesday meeting participated in the Thursday meeting via video link, would give his suggestions regarding the remaining issues to the committee.

When asked about the proposal to empower parliament instead of the Supreme Court to dissolve a political party, the law minister responded, “The issue was dropped in a previous meeting of the committee.”

While speaking to the media, Tarar said that Ayaz Sadiq, during the committee’s first meeting last week, had urged to complete electoral reforms before the current assemblies’ tenure ends in August. He explained that according to the Constitution, if the assembly completes its term, elections must be held within 60 days, whereas if the assembly is dissolved before completing its term, elections must take place within 90 days.

Following Tuesday’s working session, the law minister stated that there would be no extension in the National Assembly’s term but kept the option of early dissolution of the legislature open.

Meanwhile Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) revealed that it was his party which proposed dissolution of the remaining assemblies on August 8, four days prior to the completion of their five-year term.

Tarar and Qamar both said that no decision regarding early dissolution had been made. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also confirmed recently that the assemblies’ tenures would not be extended, but he did not indicate if they would be dissolved earlier.

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