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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs unanimously passed “The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021” to share the account of contesting candidate with the Election Commission of Pakistan for election expenses. The Committee met with Mujahid Ali in the chair at the Parliament House on Thursday.

The Committee, unanimously, passed the private member’s bill [“The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021] moved by Ali Gohar Khan, MNA. During detailed deliberations, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan supported the bill.

According to the bill, “Provided that a candidate reappearing in election can provide his/her already open, exclusive account, to be used for the purpose of election expenses and maintain, or cause to be maintained, a register of receipt and expenditures, for every election, separately.”

The committee expressed its condolence on the sad demise of mother of Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali and offered “fateha” for the departed soul. The committee welcomed the new member Qadir Khan Mandokhail, MNA.

The committee confirmed the minutes of its previous meeting held on 26th August 2021 and also expressed satisfaction on the implementation status of the previous recommendations.

The committee did not consider the bills, The Elections (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Ordinance No XX of 2021) (government bill); and The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (moved by Muhammad Murtaza Iqbal, MNA),and deferred the same till the next meeting.

The committee considered the bill, The Bio-Metric Electoral Voting Bill, 2020 (moved by Muhammad Aslam Khan, MNA). During detailed deliberations, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan opposed the bill being violative of Article 226 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It was further elaborated that the proposed amendment does not only impose a financial burden on the voters but will also violate the secrecy and confidentiality of the votes. The committee unanimously recommended that the bill may not be passed by the National Assembly.

The committee considered the bill, The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Moved by Syed Javed Husnain, MNA). During detailed deliberations, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan opposed the bill being violative of Article 17(2) of the Constitution.

The committee, unanimously, recommended that the bill may not be passed by the National Assembly. Members/MNAS/movers Rukhsana Naveed,Shaheen Naz Saifullah, Zill-e-Huma, Fouzia Behram, Mehmood Bashir Virk, Rana Mubashir Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Aftab Shahban Mirani, Mahesh Kumar Malani, Shamsun Nisa, Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Syed Javed Husnain, Ali Gohar Khan and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs besides the secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan along with their staff attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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