ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday for a declaration that the demarcation timetable announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on April 11 is “unlawful” and “unconstitutional”.
The petition, written by lawyers Faisal Chaudhry and Fawad Chaudhry, also asked the Supreme Court to order the ECP and the Secretary to ensure the upcoming electoral process in accordance with the law and the Constitution and without wasting time. nor create delay.
The petition argued that the ECP’s effort to redefine provincial and national constituencies across the country and the subsequent timetable it published amounted to a breach of section 51(5). As the delimitation exercise conducted in 2018 by order of the Constitution must be considered final until the new census takes place, the ECP was therefore required to hold elections on the basis of the delimitation carried out previously.
He argued that the constituency delimitation exercise that was conducted in 2018 by the ECP through its notification dated May 3, 2018 was for all intents and purposes exhaustive until a new census was taken. The petition pointed out that the delimitation based on the 2017 census had already been carried out by sovereign order of the Constitution and parliament, and that no new census had been carried out or published thereafter. It also indicated that the mandatory conditions set out in Article 51, read together with Chapter III of the 2017 Electoral Law, to carry out a new demarcation, had not been met, he said, adding that in Under such circumstances, the new demarcation process was unconstitutional and illegal.
Electoral reforms, including transparent selection of ECP and CEC members, are proposed
The petition called on the SC to intervene immediately to save voters from the brutality of the “illegal and unconstitutional” boundary.
Meanwhile, PATTAN and Coalition-38 – a network promoting the idea of responsible voters for responsible leadership – proposed a set of electoral reforms on Tuesday, including adopting a transparent method to select its members as well as the Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC).
The ECP has been incomplete since the last week of July 2021, when two of its four members – from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab – retired.
Calling for a transparent method to select ECP and CEC members, the civil society network stressed that the nomination process should start at least six months before the end of the outgoing members’ terms. of the CEC and the ECP in order to avoid the intermittent vacuum that the commission continued to suffer from.
He said the profiles of the candidates as well as the minutes of the meetings held in this regard should be made public and the same process should be adopted for the establishment of the caretaker government. “For many years, we have had a serious stalemate when it comes to appointing the CEC, the members of the Commission and the establishment of the interim. As a result, compromises are made, which seriously damage the confidence of the people in politicians and creates doubts about the conduct of the elections,” he explained.
The network noted that democratically-run political parties were the backbone of democratic governance, as intra-party democracy was also guaranteed by Chapter XI of the Electoral Act 2017, however, the ECP seemed to have demonstrated negligence in implementing the law in letter and spirit.
He suggested that the ECP deprive parties of electoral symbols if they do not operate in accordance with Articles 202 (5), 206, 208, 215 (1), (2), (4), (5). The network urged the ECP to set up a separate unit to monitor and report on the functioning of all registered parties in accordance with the relevant articles of the law.
He observed that most parties had become “more undemocratic in recent years”, reinforcing the stranglehold of “a few dynasties over our political system and our governance”.
According to PATTAN and the Coalition-38, when political and economic monopolies overlap, they devastate governance. Therefore, to deepen democracy and empower voters, it is imperative to end monopolies. The network observed that around 200 families control the politics and legislatures of Pakistan and almost the same families control the business corporations. “It’s not sustainable,” he noted.
40 polling stations on average
After each general election, an average of 40 by-elections were held with some candidates winning more than one seat, he said, adding that due to vacancies around Rs 90 million was spent for the by-elections. “Disputing elections from multiple seats does not exist anywhere in the world in this form. This practice must stop,” he suggested.
As nearly 40 percent of parliament and 22 percent of provincial assemblies include non-directly elected members, ending the indirect election method would help build people’s confidence in the system and democracy, he observed. It would also reduce party boss control and sycophancy, as directly elected officials would also feel accountable to their constituents.
PATTAN also supported the idea of Electronic Voting Machines and Online Voting for Overseas Pakistanis for the upcoming General Elections in light of Sections 103 and 94 of the Elections Act, Supreme Court Order, Pillar 8 of the ECP Strategic Plan 2019-23, and the ECP report on the pilot use of EVM.
Posted in Dawn, April 20, 2022