ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Friday said the government was taking all possible steps to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Addressing a news conference along with Prime Minister’s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, he described the opposition’s attitude towards the electoral reforms as ‘non-cooperative and against the will of masses’. Free, fair, and transparent elections were the essence of a strong democracy, he added.
The minister said it was Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had introduced the culture of ‘neutral umpire’ for fair play in international cricket. The electoral reforms initiated by him were to ensure free and fair elections in the country so that no one could raise an objection on their credibility, he added.
He said the three major political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PTI), Jammiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistan Threek-e-Insaf (PTI) had termed the 2013 general elections were termed. Therefore, there was a need to use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in future elections to prevent the chances of rigging, he added.
The minister recalled that a judicial commission was constituted as a result of his party’s 126-day sit-in against the 2013 election results, which had expounded 40 recommendations that highlighted shortcomings in the election system, he added.
Mentioning the Charter of Democracy, signed by the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he said both the parties agreed to introduce open and traceable ballots in the Senate elections. Despite being in the government for almost 10 years, both the parties had done nothing to ensure free and fair elections in the country, he added.
He said the PTI government had got passed 110 laws from the National Assembly and still dozens of such laws were pending in the House due to the opposition’s non-serious attitude. Various bills, passed by the National Assembly in recent days, had been pending since 2020, he added.
“The opposition parties do not want a debate on the bills, and instead resort to walkouts as they have no interest in the legislation which is beneficial to the country and the nation,” he noted.
Farrukh was of the view that the opposition had interest only in the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) like concessions to get relief in their corruption cases.
He said the opposition had denied sitting with Syed Fakhar Imam, the most gentleman in the Parliament, to discuss the issues of national importance.
He said the NA Speaker had also approached the opposition to discuss electoral reforms and other issues, but they were adamant to pursue the politics of non-cooperation. The minister alleged that on the national security bill, the opposition had brought ‘personal security bill’ and introduced 34 amendments in the National Accountability Act laws.
The amendments were meant to ensure ending of their leadership’s cases pertaining to corruption and fake accounts, he added. As regards the voting right to the expats, he said the overseas Pakistanis were an asset of the country and would definitely be involved in the election process.
The overseas Pakistanis’ contribution to the national development could not be denied as they had sent about 27 billion dollars in the ongoing year, he added. He criticised PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal for speaking against the provision of voting right to the overseas Pakistanis, saying his point of view had hurt the sentiments of the Pakistanis living outside the country.
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