Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday wrote a letter to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, requesting him to form an inter-party electoral reform committee to bring transparency to the electoral process.
“The recent Senate elections have highlighted once again the scourge of vote purchasing in the prevailing non-transparent manner of conducting elections,” the prime minister wrote. “I have always highlighted electoral reforms to ensure transparent, free, and fair elections at all levels.”
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had asked for open ballots in the Senate elections, introduced a bill in the National Assembly, and approached the Supreme Court to ensure transparency in election.
“Unfortunately, the [Election Commission of Pakistan] paid no heed to the SC judgement and failed to carry out fair and free Senate elections,” he added.
In his letter, he expressed disappointment at “the malaise of our prevailing electoral system, including but not limited to the free flow of money to purchase votes.”
He said that the ruling party has submitted a bill for “meaningful electoral reforms to remove the prevailing stigma attached to our electoral process,” and urged the NA speaker to form a committee to implement the reforms.
“I would request you to immediately form an inter-party parliamentary committee to discuss these reforms and come to an agreement on how to introduce best practices including the use of technology and introduction of EVMs (electronic voting machines) to strengthen our electoral system and democracy,” he said.
The premier said the task should be completed in a definitive time frame so that enough time is given to the relevant institution to bring reforms before the next general election.
“It is in the interest of democracy in Pakistan to establish a credible and transparent electoral system and put an end to all venues that allow for corrupt practices that are eroding our parliamentary democracy,” the letter concluded.