The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday approved a draft of electoral reforms for effective legislation to curb rigging in the upcoming general elections and ensure transparency and credibility of the polls. The commission at its meeting approved to enhance monetary penalty for illegal and corrupt practices side by side enhancing the nomination fee for the candidates of National and Provincial Assemblies. “Draft reforms package will be sent to the Law division for proper legislation,” DG Elections Sher Afghan informed media representatives at a news conference. He said the commission also approved registration of 11 new political parties while elections symbols were allotted to 16 already registered parties including the party of renowned nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Earlier, during its meeting chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakharuddin G Ibrahim, the ECP had decided to increase the nomination fee for National Assembly candidates from Rs 4,000 to Rs 50,000 and for provincial assemblies candidates from Rs 2,000 to Rs 25,000.
The Special Committee of the Senate on Election Issues has already agreed to the proposal and after the approval of the Commission it will be sent to the Parliament for legislation.
The ECP also decided to increase the fine money for corrupt practices to Rs 100,000 from existing Rs 5,000 fine money.
These practices include impersonation, capturing of polling stations, bribery to voters and election staff and intimidation etc. Imprisonment for such violations will continue to be three years.
Similarly for illegal practices inside the polling stations jurisdiction, the fine money has been proposed to be enhanced to Rs 100,000 from the existing Rs 5,000.
Moreover, a proposal has also been adopted to make Code of Conduct part of the Representation of the Peoples Act and the candidates will have to face a penalty of Rs 100,000 for violation of the provisions.