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January 14, 2016

ECP failed to obey rules during 2015 by-elections: Experts

National

January 14, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians and electoral experts here on Wednesday said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has  failed to ensure compliance of election rules, as seen during bye-elections conducted in 2015.

At a briefing session to review the performance of the electoral body here under the auspices of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (Pildat), the experts aired their views and pointed out that the ECP learned its lessons and the poll phases in Punjab and Sindh were held in a far better manner. The Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms discussed limitations faced by ECP that impede its performance. They highlighted lack of capacity and institutional independence as key limitations faced by the ECP.

The panel of speakers endorsed the recommendation made by Pildat in its Citizens’ Periodic Report of Performance of the ECP in 2015.It was felt that after the lessons learned during the local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP improved its performance of management of local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.

“The Election Commission of Pakistan spent Rs100 million from the federal government’s funds for voters education during the local government elections, however, voters turnout remained as low as 30 per cent,” Fida Muhammad, Additional Secretary ECP, said.The additional secretary of ECP pointed out how despite all its efforts, there remained low voter turn-out in metropolitan cities during the local government elections held in 2015.

He shared the efforts made by the ECP during 2015 to improve its performance. Key stakeholders critically evaluated their performance and offered recommendations during the briefing session.

Among others, Shafqat Mahmood MNA (PTI), Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed PML, Dr. Arif Alvi MNA (PTI) and Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Parliamentary Secretary (PML-N) shared their perspectives at the briefing session.Dr. Alvi contended that innovative solutions were required to meet ECP’s goal to facilitate overseas Pakistanis voting right.

The briefing session was followed by a discussion session during which participants, including parliamentarians, government officials, members of media and civil society discussed some of the recommendations that can help improve the state of affairs for this important state institute.

 

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