“We have all the necessary and good laws in Pakistan, but we fail to implement them!” This is a common lamentation in Pakistan. Whatever the subject is — politicians, civil society, lawyers, journalists and governmental officials make this claim. But is this true? In one area that has attracted much public controversy, this was not the case: The election laws lacked many provisions needed for credible, transparent and inclusive elections. The controversies in the 2013 elections were not simply ‘losers crying sour grapes’. Genuine shortcomings in the election laws, which undermined Pakistani elections for many years were repeatedly pointed out by civil society, observers and eventually also confirmed in the inquiry commission setup to investigate the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) accusations of systemic rigging in 2013 general elections. The Commission found no systematic rigging but pointed to many systemic problems.
Articles about voting issues in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Mobin is set to apprise the Supreme Court on Monday of “non-technical challenges” and the minimum time required to develop an integrated internet voting system to enable overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming general elections. During the last hearing of the petitions seeking the right of vote for overseas Pakistanis, the Nadra chairman had tried to make a presentation before a SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, on the internet voting system, but at the outset he was intercepted by the chief justice when he sought a five-month time for developing the system. … Nadra spokesman Faik Ali, when contacted, said that after the court’s directive a Nadra team headed by the chairman held meetings with the ECP officials to discuss modalities, time frame and non-technical challenges related to the mechanism. He said the Nadra chairman would apprise the Supreme Court of the outcome of these meetings on Monday.
With the Supreme Court’s approval, the country’s biggest database manager has started working on the development of an integrated internet voting system aimed at extending the right of franchise to over seven million Pakistanis living abroad in time for the next general elections, according to a report by a private media outlet. According to a presentation given by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to the apex court on Wednesday, a three-tier electronic mechanism – named the Internet Voting System for Overseas Pakistanis – will be developed at a cost of Rs150 million and within a period of four months. The ECP would provide the required funds for the project.
Pakistan: Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 to be presented for approval in National Assembly today | Pakistan Today
The Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 will be tabled in the National Assembly on Monday, after the Senate last week passed the bill. The acceptance of the bill in the National Assembly which will pave the way for Nawaz Sharif to regain chairmanship of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Earlier in August, after Nawaz had been disqualified according to the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case, the ECP had informed the PML-N that according to the Political Parties Order 2002, a disqualified MNA would not hold any position in the party.
Pakistan: Electoral reforms committee approves ‘Election Bill 2017’ with dissenting notes | Daily Pakistan
The parliamentary committee on electoral reforms finalised ‘The Election Bill, 2017’ on Wednesday with dissenting notes by five political parties. Talking to newsmen after the approval Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is the chairperson of the committee expressed that the bill will formally be signed on July 21 (Friday) by the committee for its onward submission to parliament for approval. “Nine major election laws have been merged in The Election Bill, 2017 as per best international practices, with the input of all political parties having representation in parliament,” Dar said.
Pakistan: PTI insists general elections be held under a reconstituted Election Commission | Pakistan Today
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has staged a walk-out of the parliamentary committee on electoral reform in protest against the committee for not considering the party’s proposals for meaningful electoral reforms, placed before the subcommittee in April 2017. The PTI lawmakers Dr Arif Alvi, Shafqat Mehmood and Dr Shireen Mazari in the media talks lashed out at the government for what they dubbed ‘the non-seriousness’ to implement the much-need electoral reforms. They said that the ECP has lost its credibility in holding those responsible for the wrongdoings pointed out in the SC report, on PTI rigging petition on the 2013 election.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the upcoming general elections in 2018 will be held according to the new electoral reforms. Speaking after a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms in Islamabad on Tuesday, the federal minister said that contentious points will be further deliberated in the sub-committee on electoral reforms meeting to be held tomorrow (May 17th). He hoped that the sub-committee headed by Law Minister Zahid Hamid on draft Elections Bill, 2017 will submit its report before the next budget.
The scandal of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) system hounding the recent Indian elections is a timely forewarning for the Election Commission of Pakistan to desist from a complete switchover from the existing paper ballot system to the desired EVM. Official sources in the ECP told The News that although the commission was already not in favour of complete switchover, the reports coming from India have furthered their concerns. In their internal meetings, there is a consensus within the ECP that Pakistan should initially restrict itself to pilot projects under the EVM system. While different political parties, particularly the PTI, demand that the entire 2018 elections should be held under the EVM system, voices coming out of India make the system doubtful. Indian media reports showed that EVM had raised many questions during a mandatory mock poll in Jorhat when every time a button was pressed, the vote went in favour of BJP.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has signed an agreement to procure electronic voting machines (EVMs) and biometric verification machines (BVMs) for a trial run in by-elections. ECP Secretary Babar Yaqub Fateh Muhammad said that once these EVMs and BVMs machines are delivered by vendors in 10 weeks, they will be used in multiple pilot projects in upcoming by-elections to see their results. Director General (Admin) retired Brig Abbas Ali and Chief Executive Officer of M/s Smartmatic International Holding signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations to procure 150 EVMs.
Pakistan: Voting machine: ‘Conventional’ ballot papers likely to be used in 2018 polls | The Express Tribune
In a sign that it has virtually abandoned the proposal of using electronic voting machines, the Election Commission of Pakistan has begun preparations for ballot paper procurement well ahead of the 2018 general election. On Monday, the poll supervisory body convened a meeting of all stakeholders to review arrangements for printing ballot papers. Following the 2013 general elections, the ECP had proposed the use of EVMs in the next general elections. However, the proposal is still at a nascent stage and unlikely to be enforced by 2018 due to technical and legal hitches.