The federal cabinet on Friday approved an amendment in the Election Act 2017, paving way for disqualification of an elected representative not taking an oath of his position within 60 days.
The federal cabinet gave a nod to the bill through a circulation summary and under the ordinance, any elected representative not taking the oath of his position within 60 days of the election would be declared disqualified.
The ordinance will be promulgated into law after it gets approval from President Arif Alvi. It will be implemented on elected representatives including members of national and provincial assemblies, Senate and local bodies.
Those getting affected by the bill immediately after its implementation included PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar and former PML-N stalwart and MPA from Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
This is not the first time that the federal government made amendments to the Election Act 2017 through an ordinance. In February 2021, the federal government approved an amendment in the Election Act 2017 to allow holding Senate elections through an open ballot.
President Dr. Arif Alvi also signed Elections (Amendment) ordinance 2021 that paved way for holding the Senate elections through the open ballot after changes made in sections 81, 122 and 185 of the Constitution.
The changes were, however, linked with a presidential reference filed in the Supreme Court that later declared that the Senate polls be held through secret ballot.
PTI to introduce electoral reforms
Recently, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser reached out to Yousuf Raza Gilani as two of them discussed improving the state of affairs within the Parliament and electoral reforms. “It is the joint responsibility of all to maintain the sanctity and respect of the Parliament,” he said adding that they had to face the ongoing challenges beyond their party politics.
The National Assembly speaker said that electoral reforms were need of the hour and asked the opposition leaders to convey the names of their party leaders to be represented in the parliamentary body mulling over these reforms.
Responding to it, Yousuf Raza Gilani assured that they would extend their cooperation for running the assembly affairs in a proper manner. “Naveed Qamar has been appointed focal person in this regard by Bilawal Bhutto,” he said adding that PPP would play its positive role for the electoral reforms as it is a much-needed initiative.
However, political analysts believe that the Opposition and the government are unlikely to make any progress because of some pertinent reasons. First, the government does not seem to be interested to compromise on the ongoing accountability derive. Second, the main opposition parties i.e. PML-N and PPP want to elude the NAB. Third, PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) is demanding the removal of the incumbent government. Hence, argue analysts, this will be no easy task for the government to introduce electoral reforms.