ISLAMABAD - In a bid to garner support for its electoral reforms agenda, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is reaching out to other parties for bringing them on same page and jointly strive for introduction of radical reforms in the electoral system to effectively control the rigging in future elections.
In this connection, PTI leaders on Wednesday held separate meetings with Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam), Pakistan People's Party and Majlis-i-Wadatul Muslameen leaders. They all were of unanimous view that an all parties committee should be constituted to review and recommend changes in the existing election mechanism which should then be presented before the parliament for formal legislation.
Talking to media after these meetings, the leadership of all these parties demanded of the members of incumbent Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to step down from their posts for their failure to hold free, fair and transparent elections in the country as all and sundry had doubted the results of these elections and alleged massive rigging across the country.
After the meeting with PTI leaders at the chamber of Leader of Opposition in Senate Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah announced that in the larger interest of the country Pakistan People's Party had entered into an alliance with PTI to bring reforms in the electoral system to check rigging in future elections.
Accompanied by Naveed Qamar, Raza Rabbani and PTI leaders Makhdoom Javid Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and others, Shah said that in May 11, 2013 elections there were large-scale complaints of rigging from almost all the major political parties and they too had found many a loopholes and flaws in the electoral process. To avoid such happenings in future and to make the elections process free from all types of anomalies and rigging surgical reforms in the system are required for which they fully support the PTI idea. He said, as bringing of reforms in the system was not an easy task so they wanted to start work on it right now so that before the next general elections a foolproof system would be in place.
Earlier, in the day the three members PTI team comprising Makhdoom Javid Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jahangir Khan Tareen held meeting with PML-Q President Ch Shujaat Hussain at his residence and discussed matters relating to the reformation of electoral system in the country to effectively control the rigging and remove other loopholes in the process.
Talking to media persons after the meeting at the residence of Ch Shujaat, Qureshi said that they were not demanding the dissolution of the entire election commission but just asking its existing members to step down from their slots on moral grounds as they had badly failed in stopping rigging in the elections. It was the consensus view of both PTI and Q-League that the ECP had failed to fulfil its responsibilities toward the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections on May 11 last year, Qureshi said. He said all records of rigging were broken during May 11 polls as almost all parties were complaining about rigging.
Qureshi said PML-Q also joined their campaign for electoral reforms, adding now three major parties in the parliament were demanding reforms. He said they have also agreed to constitute a committee comprising leaders of all the political parties to deliberate upon this issue and come up with suggestions as to how the electoral system could be made foolproof against rigging. He said Arif Alvi and Shafqat Mehmood would present PTI in the proposed committee while Kamil Ali Agha and Tariq Bashir Cheema would give suggestion on behalf of PML-Q.Terming major reforms in the election commission and electoral system as need of the hour, PML-Q chief Ch Shujaat Hussain said that the results of May 11, 2013 elections were widely doubted by almost all the major political players in the country. He said it was clear that election commission has failed to conduct free and transparent elections.
Javed Hashmi, on the occasion said that ex-chief of ECP had stepped down for the same reason therefore other members of the commission should also admit their failure and resign from their posts.
The leadership of Majlis-i-Wadatul Muslameen including Allama Nasie Abbass, Allama Asghar Askari, Nasir Sheerazi and other leaders also fully endorsed the reforms agenda of PTI and said that for the establishment of an independent election commission free from all flaws they would fully stand behind the PTI.