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Electoral reforms – Journal – DAWN.COM

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The government’s proposal on Monday for sweeping electoral reforms is a welcome announcement. Far too many elections, including the last few weeks of the NA-249 bypass, have resulted in accusations of manipulation and rigging. From missing election workers to hijacking entire ballot boxes, even the most outlandish schemes somehow become possible during our electoral process. But while Babar Awans’ specific proposals for the 2017 electoral law are a step in the right direction, the history of strained relations between the government and the opposition means that a constructive debate on this crucial issue will be a daunting task. .

Here, the government must take the lead, not only by proposing amendments, but also by demonstrating its commitment to parliamentary debates. Confidence is the basis of this exercise. Opposition parties have little confidence in the government. Prime Minister Imran Khan has spoken on several occasions of electoral reforms, but his toxic relationship with the opposition left little room for engagement on this or any other issue. He and his government must prove their commitment to reform through a coherent debate in Parliament, where the opposition feels they are heard. The latter, for its part, should not be quick to reject any government proposal if it seeks a solution to the problem. Ironically, the party, which rejected the role of institutions in the elections and accused the PPP of winning with its NA-249 poll aid, called on military personnel to take custody of the ballots in Karachi. . An in-depth debate followed by consensus on electoral reform, an exercise which should categorically exclude any establishment role as the PPP chairman indicated at a press conference yesterday, is the only way to remedy the situation. instability and chaos that are all too evident in the polls. .

For too long our elections have been marred by interference and influence from the ruling party or the establishment. Pakistan is fortunate that its electoral system is linked to Nadra, who has multiple levels of identification for those registered with it. A rig-proof system, which cannot be manipulated by technical delays, is possible if political actors work together to achieve it. This unpleasant and dangerous trend of corrupt elections must end, because it robs the electorate’s right to indicate their choice. Moreover, these episodes erode public confidence in the system and in democracy itself. The events of the two recent NA bypasses in Daska and Karachi, and the Senate polls this year, are an example of the chaos that will unfold if political actors do not address electoral challenges before the next general election. The reforms eliminate the participation of those who rig the ballot boxes and it is in the collective interest of political parties to accept it. Failure to do so will be a loss for everyone.

Posted in Dawn on May 4, 2021

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