ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar on Tuesday said that holding of general elections at the same time was in the interest of the country. The minister expressed these views while addressing the PILDAT Forum on ‘How Prepared is the ECP to hold Free and Fair General Election.’
Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar in his address offered the government’s perspective on the upcoming general election, outlining key elements of the Elections Act 2017. He emphasized the role of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in setting the election date, underscoring its legal authority. Acknowledging the financial constraints the ECP faced in the past year, Senator Tarar stated, “Our ECP is a strengthened institution.”
He said that these constraints were no longer the case. He assured the attendees that the government was committed to closing its tenure along with the National Assembly within the constitutional framework, as bound by law. Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar lauded the ECP’s proactive approach to ensuring free and fair elections. Special Secretary ECP, Zafar Iqbal, provided a comprehensive update on the progress made against the ECP’s third strategic plan (2019-2023). He said that the ECP had achieved 90% of implementation of its Strategic Plan and it was ready to hold free and fair general election in 2023. He announced that the ECP was fully prepared to hold a free and fair general election, signaling its readiness to fulfill its vital role in the democratic process.
He underscores the ECP’s commitment to ensuring a credible electoral process and the tireless work it had undertaken towards this end. Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad highlighted that the ECP required support and cooperation of the entire democratic society, citizens and parties to discharge its constitutional responsibility of holding free, fair and credible elections. He said that census data was an important component of the election process since it served as the foundation for constituency delimitation and representation. The difficulties encountered by smaller provinces in accepting census findings point to the necessity for increased openness and engagement throughout the census process, he added.
He said that the ECP should work closely with the census office to guarantee that the data obtained was accurate and approved by all stakeholders. The results of the census were also critical in order to avoid interrupting the election calendar, he added. President of PILDAT Ahmed Bilal Mehboob gave an overview of the Status of the Implementation of ECP’s 3rd Strategic Plan (2019-2023). He emphasized the consistent effort by the ECP to strategize and improve their processes over the past 15 years. He also highlighted the government’s role in facilitating the ECP’s work and how it impacts the electoral process. The ECP had exhibited a noteworthy dedication to strategic planning during the last 15 years, he added.
He said that the ECP’s commitment to refining its procedures and adjusting to changing conditions was shown by the development of a strategic plan every five years. Successful strategic plan execution requires collaboration with a diverse variety of stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, the media, and voters themselves, he added. Senator Syed Ali Zafar of the PTI in his comments emphasized that the General Election must be held latest by October 2023 and that the ECP had a critical role in safeguarding the democratic process. “It would be very surprising and shocking if a commission said we don’t want to hold elections,” he added, emphasizing the ECP’s constitutional obligation to hold elections. Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Zafar Iqbal, Special Secretary of the ECP, Fawad Hasan Fawad, Former Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senator Syed Ali Zafar, Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Senator Taj Haider, Senator Kamran Murtaza and Muhammad Abubakar addressed the seminar.