Govt moves forward but consensus over electoral reforms still a far cry

The Nation  |  Sep 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD - As the PTI’s government moved forward to evolve consensus over electoral reforms, visible cracks emerged in joint opposition to sit with the ruling clique to find a solution of the problem.

The government, after failing to convince the opposition outside the Parliament, has successfully broken an impasse in Parliament. The opposition has for the first time at least agreed to listen to the government’s stance over electoral reforms.  As, the parliamentary opposition parties in absence of religio-political faction [MMA] agreed to constitute a parliamentary body on electoral reforms. This development has swiftly developed cracks in the opposition ranks as politico-religious parties have expressed reservations over it. They want to give final nod to the government after developing consensus at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) platform, background discussions with the Treasury and the Opposition members revealed.

Stronger EU means stronger NATO: Top EU diplomat In the fast changing political scenario, the main opposition factions [PPP and PML-N] will now first convince its allied partner [MMA] before sitting with the government on electoral reforms.

Political sources said that Maulana Fazlur Rahman had expressed reservations with PML-N’s senior leadership for taking decisions without using the platform of PDM. The opposition, in an attempt to appease parliamentary religious factions, will now jointly vet the content/text of the motion. Talking to The Nation, PPP-P’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that opposition had agreed to form a parliamentary body on electoral reforms. “Government should at least avoid jeopardizing the sanctity of institutions, if they consider EVM as the last panacea,” he commented.

Shazia Marri says opposition shared an amended motion with government

Regarding reservations over the content/ text of motion, the former prime minister said that the government had not so far approached the opposition to resolve the matter regarding controversial content of motion.

UEFA doubles prize money for Women's EURO 2022 Another opposition MNA Shazia Marri said that they [Opposition] had certain reservations over the content of motion. “We have shared an amended motion with the government. Hopefully, the government would move it in the House without changing it,” she remarked.

The government and the opposition the other day [Wednesday] had agreed to form a ‘parliamentary committee on electoral reforms’, but it failed to develop consensus over the content/text of motion.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qasier was authorised to nominate members of the electoral reforms committee in consultation with Parliamentary leaders. It was agreed in the meeting that motions will be moved in both the Houses for constitution of the committee.

It may be mentioned here that the opposition in Thursday’s National Assembly proceedings blocked the government’s move to put forward a motion regarding formation of electoral reforms body by expressing concerns over the text/content of the motion. Parliamentary sources said that Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Minister for Special Education Shafqat Mehmood held a meeting to discuss the matter related to parliamentary democracy. They reached consensus to sit with senior opposition members to develop consensus to move a unanimous motion in the house. Sources said that they discussed the new parliamentary calendar in length. It was decided that the same will also be shared with all parliamentary leaders for their input, said sources. Advisor to PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan expressed his resolve that the National Assembly should keep on exercising its oversight role and will come up to the expectations of people. 

FM discusses situation in Afghanistan with Saudi, Turkish counterparts Political observers viewed that the government and the opposition would at least develop consensus over the formation of the parliamentary body on electoral reforms but final consensus over the EVM would not be an easy task for the government.

 

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