ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would enjoy complete autonomy as per recommendations approved by the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Chair.
The approved Electoral Reforms were now expected to be presented to the Parliament next month for enactment after fine tuning.
In a Press Conference in Islamabad after the Federal Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Minister for Law Zahid Hamid and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb briefed the media about the meeting, and said that recommendations for electoral reforms had been prepared with consensus by the Parliamentary Committee.
The law minister said that the Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms would mull over required Constitutional amendments before presentation of the Electoral Reforms to the Parliament for necessary legislation.
Zahid Hamid informed that the recommendations envisaged total financial, administrative and functional autonomy for the EPC. He said that the ECP would be empowered to take disciplinary action against officials deputed from other departments and ministries for election purpose.
The minister informed that the Commission would be required to prepare a comprehensive action plan for polls six months ahead of elections to seek input and objections from the political parties and candidates. He said that a formal complaint system would be introduced to lodge complaints about malpractices before elections and their redressal.
Moreover, Zahid Hamid informed that votes would be counted and result compiled at the polling station and Form-14 containing results would be transmitted to the Returning Officer (RO) and the Election Commission through a mobile application to ensure prompt transmission of results.
The minster told that as per Electoral Reforms, in case victory margin is less than five percent or 10,000 votes then the losing candidate can demand recounting there and then and recounting would be mandatory. He said that a uniform system of printing of ballot papers would be introduced.
Zahid Hamid further told that under the reforms package, name of a citizen would be automatically registered as a voter once he was issued a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC).
The law minister said that special measures would be undertaken to encourage enlistment of women voters in case there was difference of more than 10 percent in the number of male and female votes. He said that political parties would be required to allot five percent tickets to women candidates.
The minister further informed that the electoral reforms envisaged delimitation of constituencies every 10 year. He said that delimitation would be done after census but if census was delayed than electoral rolls would form basis for delimitation.
Zahid Hamid said that there was also a proposal to enforce a criteria for registration of political parties with the ECP.
In addition, he said that the Caretaker government would not have powers to make long term decisions or policies.
In replying to questions, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that 46 modern hospitals would be established in different parts of the country.
Marriyum Aurangzeb informed that compensation for those martyred during Indian firing on the Working Boundary had been increased to Rs 500,000 and Rs 150,000 for seriously injured.
The minister told that additional bunkers would also be constructed on the boundary to ensure safety of those living in border areas.
Earlier, the Federal Cabinet meeting approved a 30-point agenda including the policy regarding repatriation of Afghan refugees.