ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani government Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) is committed to fulfilling its promise and will specifically ensure that the electoral process is changed before the next general election so that no one, including rival political parties, can demonstrate the legitimacy and fairness of the upcoming election.
“The PTI government pays special attention to electoral reform and will ensure the system is perfected and all lacunas are removed before the next election,” said National Assembly Deputy Chairman Qasim Khan Suri in an exclusive interview with The Nation.
Responding to a question why the PTI government wanted reforms before the elections, Suri said “free and fair elections are a must for democracy to develop.”
Suri said that efforts to form a special committee for electoral reforms are currently underway, but “the process will definitely be completed before the general elections in 2023.”
He added that the PPP leadership has expressed its willingness in this matter and other political parties must also come forward and contribute.
He also said electronic voting machines were used in many countries especially developed countries and it had made the voting process transparent and easy. “We also have to move in that direction and ensure transparency in elections.”
Commenting on electoral reforms following the Senate elections and the defeat of government candidate Hafeez Sheikh in the Senate elections, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan in his cricket career was the first player to raise a vote for a neutral referee.
He said that in all of these scenarios, Imran Khan voiced the goal of electoral reform and committed to ending vote buying and selling in elections. He (PM) wants the Senate election by raising his hand while being honest with his respective political parties and ideologies.
Related to this, PTI also mobilized the Supreme Court which instructed the KPU of Pakistan to create a mechanism to determine the loyalty of members of parliament in the Senate election, he added.
Commenting on the production order mechanism, Qasim Khan Suri said that the Chairman of the National Assembly has a mandate to ensure the presence of MPs through production orders.
He said it was the Chair’s prerogative and this mandate could not be carried out by neither the president nor the prime minister. Sometimes, opposition members make pressure tactics to issue production orders, but the final decision is made by the speaker.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s presence in the parliamentary session, the Deputy Speaker said that on the first day, when Prime Minister Imran Khan chose the prime minister, he was prevented from delivering his first speech by the opposition bench. How can a prime minister be prevented from delivering his speech, this is not a positive democratic tradition. “So in my opinion, the opposition should provide an opportunity to listen and ask questions democratically,” he said.
He said that the presence of the prime minister in the DPR is important and in this regard, the opposition has not yet cooperated to ensure the presence of the prime minister in parliament. He said even the Prime Minister himself offered that he would come to parliament and listen to the Opposition as well but that most of the time the Opposition boycotted the session before the prime minister’s speech.
He also added that the opposition usually chants slogans and makes noise and screams at the arrival of the prime minister, which is not a positive democratic tradition.
Responding to a question, he said that parliament is the country’s main legislative body and all political parties must join hands in the public interest. He said that all political parties, not following their respective agendas, must unite in the national agenda for parliamentary stability.
The deputy chairman said the majority of MPs were still young because the 104 new MPs including four women were those who attended parliament for the first time.
In the current parliaments of various constituencies across the country, people elect young MPs by putting aside conventional and traditional politics, said Qasim Khan Suri.
Speaking about the session days in a calendar year and the respective laws and regulations, Suri said that in the constitution it was stated that parliamentary sessions must be held for 130 days a year and during the PTI administration, these 130 days of responsibility were fulfilled to carry out the sessions. . National Assembly.
After the coronavirus pandemic, it was also decided to run a parliamentary session reducing the number of MPs by up to 25 percent with a rotation for each political party to attend the DPR sessions and ensuring proper spacing in the Assembly for seating arrangements for parliament.
Deputy Chairman Suri also said that from 2018-21, 50 resolutions had been approved by the parliament and the bill for private members introduced in this case was 202 while the bill introduced by the government was 80 and the total bill approved in this case was partly from the government and private members. there were 60, so a total of 60 rules were created in this period.
Meanwhile, there were 148 laws approved by the parliaments of the two assemblies, said the Deputy Chairman.
He also said that the parliamentary sessions are carried out systematically because we have been entrusted with this office to fulfill our responsibilities with dedication and commitment. We follow all the respective rules for conducting parliamentary sessions according to the instructions and procedures of the Constitution.
Commenting on the future of the PDM, he said from the start, PTI had been fighting against the political parties that were part of this politics for their benefit at the expense of the public interest.
He said the majority of politicians were part of the PDM, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others used to protect their personal interests after coming to power.
He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman was determined to be a part of every government to secure his goals and interests. He said the public was well aware of their basic objective and failed them by rejecting their show of force in Lahore and other parts of the country, said Qasim Khan Suri.
Talking about the political culture in Balochistan, he said the feudal system and Nawabs and Sardars reigned in Balochistan and, therefore, they used to treat each other in the capacity of Nawab and Sardar without regard for public representation.
“I have been deputy chair of Pakistan’s national assembly and it has set a precedent that youth can be at the forefront with continued efforts and struggles,” he said.
Responding to a question about the use of Urdu in parliament, the Deputy Chairman said that the Supreme Court had strictly instructed the use of Urdu.
In this perspective, he said when taking over the task, his staff said that there are words used in English because our Constitution is printed in English and operating machines are in English. But against all these hurdles, he said, he would speak Urdu and run a session in Urdu and he said my staff would make me a translation if any difficulties came.
He added that 70 percent of the MPs come from a rural background, and with the use of Urdu it has also become easier for them to understand the trial process.