ISLAMABAD - Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which had constituted a 33-member Parliamentary Committee for Electoral Reforms in assistance with all political parties with the claim and aim to remove anomalies in the prevalent electoral system, seems no more interested in the process as for the past three months it has not bothered even to summon its meeting.

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 July under the chairmanship of Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, the most trusted fellow of Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.

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

When some members of the committee were approached they were not even recalling when the last meeting was held simply saying that a few months back the last meeting of the committee was held but failed to give the exact date of the last meeting they had attended.

Ghous Bux Mahar, a member of the committee, said that he did not recall the date when the committee had its last session but the meeting was not held for quite some time and was unaware of any schedule of next meeting.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which wanted to see the task assigned to the 33-member committee accomplished within a month time, was now mum over the undue delay and its leadership was not uttering even a word about the committee’s failure to come up with some set of suggestions to revamp the prevalent electoral system in the country.

Another member of the committee and chief of Qaumi Watan Party Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said that a couple of months back the committee had last met and reviewed the job done by a sub-committee constituted by the main committee to deal with the technical and legal matters.

He was also unaware of the future schedule but hoped that the committee would meet after Senate elections due on March 5.

Another member of the committee said that the committee had not met since the resignation of Zahid Hamid as federal minister for science and technology on Nov 21 last year owing to his implication in the high treason case with Gen(r) Pervez Musharraf because he was holding the portfolio of federal minister for law at the time of clamping of emergency by the military ruler in 2007.

Sources said that the stepping down of Zahid Hamid from the chairmanship of the sub-committee following his resignation from the cabinet slot caused strong setback to the pace of work.

Since then no session of the sub-committee had taken place.

Later the working of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms was put in limbo after the reopening of the dialogue between govt and the PTI, as PTI negotiation team had demanded to halt its working because all the three members of their party had boycotted the proceedings of the committee, for, all of them had tendered their resignation as member national assembly.

As the PTI wanted to be part of this very important exercise; so, on their demand the working of the parliamentary body was deferred till the completion of the negotiations between the two sides, sources in ruling PML-N informed.

Sources closely watching working of the reforms committee informed The Nation that the parent committee in about a dozen sittings, and another half a dozen sittings of the sub-committee, had done considerable work.

Besides pointing out anomalies and weaknesses in the system, the committee was busy in preparing a list of recommendations to make ECP more powerful, having monetary and administrative independence.

The sub-committee had also prepared a detailed report on the use of biometric system and use of electronic voting machines and also reviewed the work done on the subject by the earlier bodies of both the houses of the parliament.