ISLAMABAD -  Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that electoral reforms package would be ready before the upcoming budget and a bill for enactment of the law would be tabled in the Parliament soon.

Ishaq Dar, who is also chairman of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, said that the committee had received 631 new proposals, which would be considered by the committee. He made these remarks while talking to media after chairing a meeting on electoral reforms in the Parliament House.

He made it clear that there was no proposal to hold general election before time. “It is prerogative of the Prime Minister to announce elections before time,” he said and added that no one could exert pressure on the government for holding early elections. He further said that electoral reforms package was delayed due to the legislation on military court, which took more time for reaching in consensus among political parties.

Giving details of the proceedings, the minister said that the committee held its 21st meeting today (Thursday) and overall 102 meetings of both the main committee and the sub-committee have taken place. He said the committee discussed the additional proposals that have been received since submission of its 2nd interim report on electoral reforms to the Senate and National Assembly in December 2016. He said convener Zahid Hamid has done a lot of hard work on browsing the long list of proposals and having detailed consultations with members of the committee.

The minister said that the Sub-committee from now would meet on daily basis to achieve maximum progress. He said it is our endeavour to consolidate nine different election laws into one law and it is after forty years that efforts are on for reforms. He added that the sub-committee has already met thrice during this week and it is our resolve to place the bill on electoral reforms before the parliament as early as possible. He said that the work on electoral reforms lay pending for a long time as from January onwards we were totally focused on legislation regarding the military courts. Now we intend to complete the necessary work on electoral reforms on a fast pace, he said.

The minister said that the matter regarding electronic voting and biometrics is also being looked into by a sub-committee headed by MNA Arif Alvi.

He said all political parties are jointly working on this national objective of consolidation of different laws into one composite law

He said that the government would take decision on electronic voting after considering its financial impact and security situation. Sources said that Pakistan People’s Party has opposed the idea of PTI’s of electronic voting and biometrics by saying this experiment has failed across the world. Now, the sub-committee would discuss it in details, they added.