Political parties to join electoral reform panel

 05 Jul 2014 - 7:05


ISLAMABAD: Most major political parties, including the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), have finalised the names of their members for the proposed special parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, it was learnt.
Nearly all political parties have nominated heavyweights for the all-important committee, being formed on the proposal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - in an apparent move to pacify the agitated PTI which has reservations over the results of last year’s elections and has been demanding electoral reforms ever since.
The main opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated stalwarts Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Syed Naveed Qamar and Shazia Marri in the 33-member committee, which will include members from both houses of parliament.
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah sent the four names to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq yesterday, according to a spokesman for Shah.
Sources say the ruling PML-N will be represented by seven members, including Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi and four ministers.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid, Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman, MNAs Hakeem Baloch and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry are the other members nominated by the party.
The PTI, which has called for a million-man march on Islamabad next month to press its demands around electoral reform demand, has nominated three members for the committee.
A party spokesman said that the PTI would be represented by Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Arif Alvi and Shafqat Mehmood.
Jan Achakzai, a spokesperson for the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, said the party had nominated Senator Talha Mehmood and MNA Naeema Kishwar.
Parliamentary leaders of opposition and government-allied parties, in a meeting chaired by the NA speaker on June 20, had agreed to form a 33-member committee to prepare recommendations for electoral reforms.
It was also agreed that representation in the proposed committee would be given to all parliamentary parties on the basis of their strength in both houses.
Under this formula, the ruling PML-N will have seven seats in the committee, followed by the PPP with four.
Prime Minister Sharif wrote to the National Assembly speaker on June 10, asking him to constitute a special parliamentary committee with members of both houses of parliament to deliberate the issue.
He suggested that the proposed committee should present strong recommendations on free and fair elections, establishment of caretaker government and use of modern technology in polls.
The Pakistan Muslim League (N) party is currently the largest political force in the country, securing 186 seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan following the 2013 general election.