Cabinet approved two ordinances for electoral reforms

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ISLAMABAD: Despite opposition from the two major opposition parties, the federal Cabinet has approved two ordinances as part of electoral reforms to ensure transparency in elections.

This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain while briefing media about the decisions taken in the Federal Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan here on Tuesday.

The Minister said one ordinance will enable the Election Commission of Pakistan to use electronic voting machines in elections, while the other empowers the ECP to take steps to give the overseas Pakistanis right to franchise.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government’s electoral reforms consist of four parts, including EVMs, e-voting for overseas Pakistanis, Biometric and Legislation.

He said EVMs have been developed and the government has unveiled its legislation agenda for the purpose. He said work is underway on Biometric and E-voting.

Referring to the ECP’s decision of recounting of votes in the by-election in NA-249 Karachi, the Minister said re-polling should be held in the constituency because the winning candidate will be getting only five percent votes.

Speaking about the Covid situation in the country, the Information Minister said the Covid SOPs are not being implemented in letter and spirit in Karachi, and the Sindh Government should look into it. He said the Cabinet has approved the Sindh Government’s request for deployment of the army for ensuring implementation of the SOPs.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the Cabinet approved 90-day remission to jail prisoners on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr. However, this remission will not applicable to the prisoners of heinous crimes.

He said the facility of succession certificates through NADRA is also being provided to overseas Pakistanis, and in the first phase, desks are being opened in twenty-four embassies.

He said the Cabinet has approved issuance of a commemorative coin to pay tribute to NED University Karachi on 100 years of its establishment.

The Minister said the Cabinet also approved to waive off 10 percent withholding tax on private sector bids in Railways.