December 23; UNDP in collaboration with PILDAT organized a Consultation Forum on the latest Electoral Reforms currently under debate in the Parliament at Karachi. 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 seven (7) political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan (JUIP), Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JIP) and National Party (NP).
In his welcome remarks, Rana Kaiser Ishaque, Assistant Resident Representative 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 all the major political parties of Pakistan as well as civil society, academia and media of Karachi together to discuss electoral reforms for credible, fair and inclusive elections in Pakistan. Mr. Ali Al-Bayati, Chief Technical Adviser, SELP UNDP and Mr. Muhammad Qasim Janjua, Training Specialist, SELP UNDP were also in attendance.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, said that The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which proposes a number of electoral reforms is 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.
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 Ms. Sidra Imran, MPA PTI, Mr. Arslan Taj, MPA PTI Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA & Former Federal Minister PPPP, Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashidi, former MPA PPP, Ms. Sharmila Faruqi, MPA PPP, Mr. Javed Nayab Laghari, Special Assistant to CM Sindh, PPP, Mr. Mohammad Zubair Spokesperson PML-N, former Governor Sindh, Mr. M. Aslam Ghauri, Spokesperson JUIP, Mr. Nasir Mahmood Soomro, Provincial Secretary JUIP, Raja Arif Sultan, Naib Ameer Karachi JIP, Mir Jan Muhammad Buledi, Secretary General NP, Mr. Ayub Qureshi, Vice President NP, Mr. Muhammad Hussain Khan, MPA MQM-P and Ms. Rana Ansar MPA MQM-P. Representatives from Media & Civil Society included Mr. Qazi M Zulqernain, Lecturer Habib University, Professor Shaista Tabassum of Karachi University, Mr. Ghazi Salahuddin, Senior Journalist, Mr. Mazhar Abbas, Senior Journalist, Mr. Javed Jabbar, Former Senator, Mr. Karamat Ali, Executive Director PILER, Mr. Mohammad Tahseen, Executive Director SAP-PK, Mrs. Naveed Amir, Senior Research Economist SPDC and Professor Dr. Aqdas Afzal, Programme Director, Habib University.