ISLAMABAD - The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms would likely to finalise and table the draft electoral reforms bill in the next few days to ease out the mounting pressure of the opposition parties on the government.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) inform The Nation that soon after his return from China, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is also head of the 33-member body, would be calling the meeting of the committee to give final shape to the electoral reforms bill so that it could be tabled before the parliament at the earliest.

Sources aware of the developments taking place at this front informed The Nation that the sub-committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms under the chair of Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid had completed the task assigned to it and had submitted its report to the main committee for final word.

Sources said that as all the parliamentary parties had representation in the 33-member body so the input of all those parties, on clause-wise proposed amendments in the prevalent electoral system, was there so its approval from the main committee would just be a formality.

The task assigned to the committee in mid-2014 was to be completed in 90 days but since then it had been lingering on one pretext or the other, and in coming July 2014, the committee would be completing three years time, so the pressure on government from various quarters was mounting for its early completion.

Sources said that the task assigned to the committee was almost complete and all what the committee was required to do was, to transform all the recommendations and proposed amendments in the form of the draft bill to be tabled before the parliament.

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In the last week of December 2016, the finance minister had tabled the second interim report of the committee before the parliament and sought the reflection of the parliamentarians on it within 30 days.

Similarly, the report was also uploaded on the website with the aim to have public input, legal fraternity and other stakeholders in the period specified.

However, some sources in the parliament were of the view that even after the passage of the proposed electoral reforms draft bill 2017 it would require several months to put it on ground.

These sources said that till now the committee could not decide on using the electronic voting machines in the elections, and even after several dozen meetings the sub-committee of the electoral reforms committee could not finalise matters on the issue.

The introduction of electronic voting machines in the elections would require a lot of finances and trained staff, which the Election Commission of Pakistan could not manage in a few months time.

Sources further said that the chances of holding of next general elections under new electoral laws, yet to be approved by the parliament seemed a far cry.

They said that the chances of passage of the electoral reforms laws from the parliament would not be possible before the budget session.

The only achievement on part of the committee was the 22nd Constitution Amendment that had changed the eligibility criteria of members of the ECP in May last as recommended by the committee on electoral reforms.

Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms was constituted under Rule 224(b) of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of National Assembly 2007 by the parliament in June last but the committee was formally put in place by end of July 2014 under the chairmanship of Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, the most trusted fellow of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The 33-member committee faced its first setback when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members of the committee boycotted its proceedings following their resignations from the National Assembly and had hardly participated in any of its working session.

But even after the boycott of the PTI MPs, chairman of the committee Ishaq Dar had expressed his resolve to accomplish the task within three months time but now almost double the time has passed, and the committee seems nowhere on ground what to speak of accomplishing the task assigned to it.

The PTI, which wanted to see the task assigned to the 33-member committee accomplished within a month, is now mum over the undue delay.