Draft of unified poll law prepared -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Draft of unified poll law prepared

By: Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD: With the general election around the corner, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has prepared a draft `unified electoral law’ aimed at making the electoral process transparent and credible.

“A package of legislative reforms proposed by the ECP months ago has been converted into a draft unified law and will be finalised shortly through a consultative process,” a senior ECP official told Dawn.

He said the draft law would be discussed at a joint meeting of the ECP and Senate’s special committee on election laws later this month. For quite some time, some members of the National Assembly have also been attending such meetings on special invitation.

Other issues on the agenda included the new code of conduct for the upcoming polls and the election symbols, which have been outnumbered by the political parties registered with the commission.

The new code of conduct which adds the president and governors to the list of public office holders barred from participating in election campaign was unveiled by the ECP in October while a revised version with minor changes was announced last month.

The draft code of conduct was sent to political parties with the decision that it would be considered final after 15 days, if no input from the parties was received.

Later, a meeting of the Senate special committee on election issues decided that a dedicated session on the code of conduct would be held and political parties would convey their suggestions through that forum.

ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan during a meeting of the Senate committee had proposed that the parliamentary panel and the ECP should hold a joint meeting to finalise the code of conduct – an idea which somehow failed to materialise.

A source said the joint meeting had been planned for Dec 20, but had to be put off in view of a consultative session of the ECP with political parties on delimitations in Karachi which was scheduled for the same day. The source said now the ECP had written a letter to the Senate committee proposing the holding of the joint meeting in the last week of the current month, adding the commission wanted to finalise the code of conduct as soon as possible.