ISLAMABAD - Parliamentarians and Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN) have recommended the government to make amendments in Elections law, Representation of Peoples Act 1976 and in Electoral Rolls Act 1974 for free and transparent elections. They have recommended the government that the process of appointing Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commission members should be according to Charter of Democracy (CoD) and it should become a law. The process is summarized as follows, Prime Minister in consultation with opposition is to forward up to three names for each of the CEC and its Election Commission members to a joint Parliamentary Committee. If there is no consensus between PM and Opposition Leader both of them must forward separate lists to the joint parliamentary committee. The committee is comprise of 50 percent of members from treasury benches and 50 percent from opposition parties of both Houses, based on the strength of those parties in Parliament and nominated by respective parliamentary leaders. After public hearing, the committee shall forward the names of person(s) recommended, a decision that will be expressed by a majority. If the joint parliamentary committee fails to decide in a reasonable time, Parliament in joint sitting will then decide. They recommended that the CEC and members of Election Commission should be selected on the basis of professional qualifications and experience, and female representation on the EC should be guaranteed. In another suggestion, FAFENs report says that the ECP should given full authority over seconded staff to direct, sanction, and dismiss such staff while conducting elections on its behalf. Under the current law, EC does not command full authority on District Returning Officers, Returning officers and Presiding Officers However, the report recommended that law should allow for the deputation of staff seconded from the government and the corporations as presently articulated in the law. However, such staff should during the period of their deputation be subjected to the control, superintendence and discipline of the EC; the law should also establish the ECs power both to recruit and dismiss temporary staff, on terms and conditions to be determined by the Commission and as deemed necessary by it for the purpose of conducting elections. The EC should be able to rely on either of these approaches in recruiting staff to implement electoral processes. It also proposed amendments to election law in section III, p.24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 34, 35, 37. CEC with the approval of the EC will have the power to make elections-related rules and regulations that allow the commission to carry out the dictates of elections law, the financial autonomy of the EC should be guaranteed in law, including that authority over approval of its budget, the maintenance of accounts, the creation of posts and authority over supplementary grants. A constitutional provision should be added establishing that neutral and non-partisan caretaker government, at the federal and in the provincial levels, will be appointed before every general elections so that the government agencies and security forces can be tasked to remain neutral, without interfering, throughout the elections campaign and election process. The EC should also be given specific powers and authority to address cases in a timely manner where inference by a government entity is evident. This power should also be provided in the consultation. A DRO, RO, presiding officer, polling officer or any other official, who is not an employee of the commission but appointed to performing function under this act, shall be deemed to be on deputation with the commission. The EC may, for the purpose of conducting an election, create temporary posts and employ officers and servants on such posts in the prescribed manners. The commission may determine the terms and conditions of service of the temporary employees including training and discipline. Pointing out financial autonomy, report suggested that the Federal Government shall annually provide funds to the Commission that are necessary for the performance of functions of the Commissioner and Commission. The Commission shall approve its budget for each financial year starting from the 1st day of July and ending on 30th June of the succeeding year. The federal government shall, on the recommendation of the Commission, provide supplementary grant to the Commission for the conduct of general elections or bye-elections. The Commission may allow expenditures from its funds, create or abolish a post, and upgrade or downgrade a post. The Auditor General of Pakistan shall conduct the annual audit of the accounts of the Commission. The AGP shall submit the audit report to the President of Pakistan who shall cause to lay it before the National Assembly. According to the report, there is no existing provision in any law relating to financial autonomy of ECP. Proposing amendments in Constitution, they recommended that if the National Assembly is dissolved, the President shall, in his discretion appoint a neutral caretaker Cabinet. In this clause, neutral caretaker cabinet means the cabinet consisting of the PM and a minister who is not a member of a political party; has not been an office-bearer of a political party any time during one hundred ad eighty days prior to the appointment; and or whose spouse, sibling, ascendant or descendent is not a candidate in the election being held during the tenure of the caretaker Government. It would also be implemented for provincial elections. National Coordinator Mudassar told that a detailed briefing on it was given to parliamentarians including Farhat Khan (MQM), Marvi Memon (PML-Q), Humair Rokhri (PML-N), Qadir Patel (PPP) and Bushra Gohar (ANP) who also played a role and give more suggestions to FAFEN. Marvi Memon when contacted said that it was a great effort for making the elections free, fair and transparent. She said that the report needs public and media debate as it could be improve.