ABBOTTABAD, Jul 27 (APP): Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that the acceptance of the Electoral Reforms Bill 2023 through consultations with the coalition parties in the federal government was a victory for democratic forces.
In a press statement issued here Thursday, the minister further mentioned that they had collectively decided on a political direction for the future. According to the Bill, the Presiding Officer will create Form 45’s image and send it to the Election Commission, if the internet is not available, the Presiding Officer will be bound to personally deliver the original results, he said.
Murtaza Abbassi said that the Presiding Officer would be obligated to provide election results by 2 am on the polling day. In case of any delays, the Presiding Officer will be given a deadline of 10 a.m. the next day, with criminal proceedings initiated against them in case of non-compliance, he told.
The minister said that under this bill, a decision on violations of the Code of Conduct would be made within 7 days instead of 15 days. The polling station will not be changed within 5 days before the polling day and for election expenses, previously used bank accounts can be utilized, but an affidavit must also be provided, he expressed.
Murtaza Abbassi said that security personnel would be deployed outside the polling stations adding, in case of any emergencies, they will be allowed inside with the permission of the Presiding Officer. To ensure transparency in the postal ballot, the number of votes issued in each constituency and the polling day will be informed on the website, he added.
The minister said that for the National Assembly seat elections, the difference of 5 percent or 8,000 votes (whichever is less) would be subject to a recount, following the bill, only serving judges will be responsible for the Election Tribunal instead of retired judges. He said that six months would be given to address election petitions, and after that, a penalty would be imposed on every false plea, followed by dismissal from service.
The Presiding Officers will face criminal proceedings if election operations are hindered due to the misconduct of the staff. The Bill also aims to prevent linguistic and sectarian reasons from obstructing elections and ensures that transgender persons have their protected rights, he added.