December 29; UNDP in collaboration with PILDAT organized a third Consultation Forum on the latest Electoral Reforms currently under debate in the Parliament at Lahore. The objective of the forum was to inform and engage citizens and policymakers to strengthen the electoral processes in Pakistan for free, fair and credible elections.
The Consultation Forum was attended by representatives of five (5) political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JIP).
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Ali Al-Bayati, Chief Technical Advisor UNDP Pakistan, said that UNDP’s project on Strengthening Electoral and Legislative Processes (SELP) works to promote accountability and transparency. He expressed his pleasure upon seeing major political parties of Pakistan as well as civil society, academia and media of Lahore together to discuss electoral reforms for credible, fair and inclusive elections in Pakistan. The purpose of consultation was to provide a forum to develop coordination among key stakeholders to discuss the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and discuss the clauses to contribute to an inclusive process of lawmaking.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, described the timeline of The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 said that it proposes a number of electoral reforms that are before the Parliament. A rigorous process of consultation should have ideally taken place on the bill in the Parliament by inviting citizens’ input. PILDAT & UNDP Pakistan have made an effort to discuss this in order to facilitate informed consultation and contribute towards a consensus on the law.
Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director PILDAT, presented an overview of the key clauses of The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 before the start of the consultation.
Participants from political parties included Mr. Mohsin Leghari, MPA PTI & Provincial Minister for Irrigation, Ms. Musarat Jamshed, MPA PTI, Mr. Munir Ahmed Khan, Chairman National Press Trust PTI, Ms. Seemabia Tahir, MPA PTI, Ms. Uzma Kardar, MPA PTI & Chairperson Standing Committee on Gender Mainstreaming, Ms. Saadia Sohail, MPA PTI, Mr. Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, MPA PML-N, Ms. Bushra Anjum Butt, MPA PML-N, Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed Khan, MPA PML-N, Ms. Hameeda Waheeduddin, MPA PML-N, Syed Ali Haider Gilani, MPA PPPP, Mr. Rizwan Mumtaz Ali, Advisor PML and Mr. Waqar Nadeem Warraich, JIP.
Representatives from Media & Civil Society included Mr. Salman Ghani, Senior Journalist Dunya News, Mr. Sajjad Mir, Senior Journalist, Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed, Senior Journalist, Mr. Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami, CEO & Editor Daily Pakistan, Dr. Amanullah, Dean, Law College of Punjab, Mr. Waseem Ashraf, USAID Pakistan, Mr. Mubeen Uddin Qazi, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr. M. Aslam Nasir, Founder of Pakistan Kissan Ittehad, Dr. M. Younis, Associate Professor, Ms. Sarah Khan, Communication Specialist, Ms. Mehmal Sarfraz, Co-founder The Current, Ms. Maheen Pracha, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Ms. Farah Zia, Director HRCP, Khawaja Shoaib ul Hassan, Member Seraikistan Democratic Party and Mr. Aagher Nadeem Sahar, Columnist.