ISLAMABAD -  Giving more autonomy to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms Friday approved the Elections Reforms Bill 2017.

New draft includes tough measures to stop corrupt practices and to make election process more transparent.

In the new proposal, delimiting constituencies after each census has been proposed with emphasis on making the electoral disputes’ resolution system more expeditious.

The ECP will have powers to make rules without prior approval of the President or government.

The ECP will have powers of High Court to issue specific directions for performance of its duties throughout Pakistan.

The commissioner will have full financial powers, including powers to create posts within budgetary allocations.

The ECP has been authorised to redress complaints during various stages of election process and its decisions will be appealable to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The commission will delimit constituencies after every census and variation of population amongst constituencies in the same assembly from the same province or territory has been restricted to 10 per cent.

NADRA will submit relevant data of every CNIC to the ECP so that every citizen who is enrolled in the database can automatically be enrolled as voter. Nomination form has been simplified and the same form has been prescribed for candidates for all seats.

Nomination or candidature fee for the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and Senate has been fixed as Rs30,000, Rs20,000 and Rs20,000 respectively.

In case of equality of votes between two candidates, both will be declared returned candidates and each will become member for half of the term of assembly. In case of equality of votes between three or more candidates there will be a re-election in that constituency.

Maximum limit of election expense has been set as four million rupees for National Assembly, two million for provincial assemblies and one and half million rupees for Senate elections.

Every member of an assembly or senate will submit annual wealth statement in the same form as submitted under the income tax ordinance 2001.

The commission will scrutinise wealth statement of members and in case found false may direct prosecution of the member for offence of corrupt practices.

In order to check mushroom growth of political parties, conditions for enlistments of new party with the ECP will include minimum 200,000 members and Rs200,000 enlistment fee in addition to existing requirements. Each political party will submit its annual statement and list of donors to ECP, who have donated Rs100,000 or above to the party.

The caretaker government’s has been restricted to day to day routine non-controversial matters, necessary to run affairs of government.

Members of caretaker government will submit their wealth statements to ECP as required by members of parliament.

The ECP will make special measures to encourage participation of women in electoral process including registration of women voters and actual voting on polling day. The bill will be tabled in parliament soon and after approval it would become part of legislation.