CNIC mandatory for casting votes: EC secy -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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CNIC mandatory for casting votes: EC secy

* Ishtiak Khan says political parties have decided to establish mobile courts

ISLAMABAD: The country’s political parties have agreed to make the Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) mandatory for registration and casting of votes, Election Commission (EC) Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan said at a press briefing on Tuesday after a consultative meeting with political parties.

The EC held the consultative meeting in a bid to gain political ownership for its draft of the five-year strategic plan, aimed at bringing major legal, administrative and operational reforms.

“All the political parties want an independent, transparent and neutral EC. To ensure transparency, the political parties have agreed that secret balloting should be stopped and a show of hand replaces it instead,” Ishtiak said. Elaborating this point, he said that if an elected member casts his vote, the voters back home should know for whom he has voted.

A confident EC secretary briefed the media about all the good suggestions forwarded by the political parties despite the fact that the Pakistan People’s Party did not attend the meeting, although they had committed to it earlier.

Ishtiak told reporters that all those present at the consultative meeting agreed to extend the Political Parties Act to FATA in order the bring the area into the mainstream.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) stated that the EC should have full financial autonomy like the Supreme Court and parliament so that it is free of governmental control and pressure. The secretary said political parties expressed serious concern over the untoward incidents at polling stations and they were of the view that CCTV should be installed to avoid all such incidents.

Mobile courts: He said a consensus was evolved over working out a strategy to control the ‘mushroom growth’ of political parties, as there were currently 125 political parties in the country.

The secretary added that political parties had agreed on establishing mobile courts to settle electoral disputes on the spot. Ishtiak said it was decided that a parliamentary committee, comprising representatives of the EC, political parties and relevant ministries, should be constituted to work out solutions to electoral issues.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/31/2010