Election Commission Proposes Sweeping Reforms and Amendments to Electoral Rules in Pakistan

In a significant move, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has introduced 18 recommendations and amendments to the electoral rules, including the electoral rolls. According to an official statement issued by the ECP, objections and suggestions regarding these reforms can be submitted until October 7th, 2023.

The key proposals put forward by the ECP include:

Disclosure of Election Expenses: Political parties will be required to provide detailed information about those contributing more than PKR 1 million in election expenses.

Nomination Deposit: Candidates will need to deposit a non-refundable amount exceeding PKR 100,000 for filing nomination papers.

Property Details: As part of their nomination papers, candidates will be required to furnish details about their domestic and foreign immovable property and acquired assets.

Forms 47, 48, and 49: The responsibility for preparing and sealing Form 47 (Statement of the Count), Form 48 (Consolidated Statement of Results of the Count), and Form 49 (Statement of the Final Result) will now rest with the candidate themselves.

Bank Account for Election Expenses: Candidates can choose either to open a new bank account specifically for election expenses or allocate an existing one solely for this purpose. Joint accounts will not be allowed.

Financial Record Keeping: Candidates will be mandated to maintain a record of every payment, bill, receipt, and voucher relating to election expenses.

Election Application Fee: The election application fee will be submitted alongside the nomination papers and will be non-refundable. The collected fee will be deposited into the government treasury.

Financial Disclosure of Supporters: In cases where someone else pays for the election expenses, the candidate will need to provide a full record, including the financier’s identity card, the types of expenses, and the means of income.

Candidate’s Symbols on the Election Commission Website: The symbols allotted to candidates for election will also be displayed on the Election Commission’s website.

Form 67 and 68: Two new forms, Form 67 and Form 68, have been introduced, requiring candidates to provide detailed information about their cars, jewelry, bank accounts, and cash holdings.

Additionally, the ECP has recommended that the head of a political party must notify the Election Commission of inter-party elections at least 15 days before the Election Schedule. Within seven days of intra-party elections, the Commission should be informed.

These sweeping reforms are aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in the electoral process in Pakistan. They represent a significant step towards ensuring fair and free elections and preventing misuse of resources. The ECP’s initiative to solicit public input on these proposals underscores its commitment to improving the democratic process in the country.