Cabinet approves Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022

Our Correspondent
May 25, 2022

The cabinet meeting observed that overseas Pakistanis should be included in the electoral process, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said

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PM Shehbaz chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad on May 24, 2022. Photo: PID

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 and allowed introduction of the same in the National Assembly. It also decided to launch pilot projects through the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for giving the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis and using Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in elections.

The approval to present the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the National Assembly was given in the light of decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) on May 19 and 25.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while terming overseas Pakistanis the country's valuable asset, observed that they should be included in the electoral process, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said. The cabinet pointed out that the last government executed legislation without taking the ECP into confidence.

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The report of the pilot projects would be laid before the two houses of parliament to decide whether giving the right to franchise to overseas Pakistanis was practicable or not. Similarly, it was recommended to the ECP to launch a pilot project for the use of EVMs and biometric verification system to check practicability of the same in the general elections.

The cabinet confirmed the CCLC decision to amend the Chartered Accountants By-Laws 1983 and approved the rules for the appointment of chairman and members of the National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC). It decided to form a special committee comprising cabinet members on the issue of missing persons. The prime minister said the issue of missing persons was serious as it created lawlessness in the country. The cabinet was also given a briefing on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directives on the issue of missing persons.

The meeting was informed that a cabinet committee had already been constituted on missing persons while a bill for amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 had been introduced in the National Assembly. The cabinet members observed that the issue of missing persons was of serious nature, which would envisage strict punishment for those involved in forced disappearances. The meeting vowed to take practicable steps to find a permanent solution to the problem.

On recommendations of the ministry concerned, the cabinet approved cancellation of appointment of the incumbent chairman Karachi Port Trust (KPT) on deputation. It was decided to give additional charge of the post to the director general Port and Shipping while the new chairman would be appointed on merit. The cabinet confirmed the prime minister’s advice to the president for the appointment of Punjab governor. It recommended restoring the Railway Estate Development and Marketing Committee.

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