ISLAMABAD - The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER) yesterday approved a report submitted by its sub-committee carrying recommendations for improving the electoral system of the country.

It announced that in light of this report the 27th Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 would be drafted and tabled before the parliament to remove lacunae from the electoral system.

The second interim report of the sub-committee of the PCER was also presented before both the houses of the parliament for parliamentarians’ reflection on it within 30 days time while it was further decided to display it on its website for the comments and suggestions of general public on the matter.

Chairing the meeting of the 20th sitting of the committee, which was also attended by the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf members of the committee, the report of the sub-committee was presented.

In all, the sub-committee of the PCER held 70 sittings and presented seven progress reports to the main committee. During the course of deliberations, the sub-committee had examined the following 9 laws and the constitutional provisions relating to elections:

The Electoral Rolls Act, 1974 (Act No. XXI of 1974); the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974 (Act No. XXXIV of 1974); the Senate (Election) Act, 1975 (Act No. LI of 1975); the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (Act No. LXXXV of 1976); the Election Commission Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No.1 of 2002); the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No.7 of 2002); the Political Parties Order, 2002(Chief Executive’s Order No.18 of 2002); the Qualifications to Hold Office Order 2002 (Chief Executive's Order No. 19 of 2002); and the Allocation of Symbols Order, 2002.

The committee members discussed the report of sub-committee and gave it formal approval with voice vote.

A number of PCER members expressed their reservations regarding the 10 percent turnout of the women voters with reference to Clause 9 of the Draft Elections Bill, 2017 and proposed that it should be 5 percent instead. About this matter, final decision will be taken in subsequent meeting of the PCER.

With reference to the Draft Constitution (Twenty-seventh Amendment) Bill, 2017, the PCER decided that it may be finalised by the sub-committee keeping in view the other proposals relating to the constitutional provisions requiring amendments, as and when received.

PCER chairman also appreciated all the members, especially the convener and members of the sub-committee, as well as officers and staff of the ECP, Nadra, law ministry and national assembly secretariat for their hard work in finalising the report and accompanying drafts/annexure.

On this occasion, a team of experts gave demonstration on Biometric Voters Identification (BVI) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) to the committee.

The meeting was attended Ministers Zahid Hamid (Law), Abdul Qadir Baloch (States and Frontier Regions), Anusha Rehman (Information Technology) and Dr Tariq Fazal (Capital Admin and Development Division); NA Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi; MNAs Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri, Shafqat Mehmood, Dr Shireen Mazari, SA Iqbal Quadri, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Naeema Kishwar, Usman Khan Tarakai, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Ijazul Haq, Ghazi Gulab Jamal and Asia Nasir; and Senators Mushahidullah, Saleem Zia, Aitzaz Ahsan, Syed Shibli Faraz, Mushahid Hussain Syed and Hidayat Ullah.

The officers of the ECP along with a team of experts on electronic voting machines and biometric voters’ identification systems, Nadra, law ministry and NA secretariat also attended the meeting.