ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of electoral reform talks to the opposition appears to have failed to minimize political tensions between the government and the opposition.
The PTI government, in its third attempt, seeks to have meaningful dialogue with opposition parties to discuss the use of electoral voting machines (EVMs) to reclaim election credibility in the country. The government in its first attempt informally invites opposition parties in the National Assembly to discuss intricate matters regarding electoral reform. The adviser to the Prime Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, for one thing, invited the opposition parties to engage with the government in electoral reforms at the National Assembly session. However, the response was very disappointing because no parliamentary leader from the opposition party responded to the proposal.
Another second attempt by the government in Parliament, but also proved fruitless. Sensing the cold response from the joint opposition, the chairman of the National Assembly played a supportive role and dropped the idea of forming a parliamentary committee for electoral reform. The fate of this parliamentary body is also unclear because opposition parties have not yet named their party members to represent.
A fourth attempt is from Prime Minister Imran to directly invite the opposition to “sit down” with the government and discuss using an electronic voting machine (EVM) to reclaim credibility. Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhary and Advisor to PM Dr Babar Awan also jointly held a press conference to gauge the seriousness of the opposition in this complex issue.
Although the opposition does not flatly refuse to work on electoral reforms, they are not ready to give preference in the current deadly wave of the Coronavirus. [COVID-19]. They asked the government to concentrate only on the availability of vaccinations for all citizens.
“Neighboring countries [India] facing a dangerous situation because of the contagious virus, we also only need to focus on COVID-19 because other problems can be dealt with later, “former deputy chairman of the National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi told the newspaper. “Mr Prime Minister! There is a need to save lives, ”commented PML-N Chairman Whip in response to a question regarding the government’s offer to launch an electoral reform dialogue. Abbasi advised the government to set priorities before engaging the opposition in important matters.
His colleague, PML-N’s Information Secretary, Marriyum Aurangzeb is not even ashamed to accuse the prime minister of making a new plan to rig the election with his recent rant about EVM.
The response from the second largest opposition party [PPP-P] nor is it satisfactory in this respect. The statements of senior PPP-P members clearly indicate their reluctance to sit down with the government on this issue. They commented that the government needs to focus on the availability of the Corona vaccine, unemployment, and the problem of price increases in the country before discussing issues related to elections. On the other hand, the opinion of parliamentarians and constitutional experts is very different from parliamentary. They believe that the government deals with many problems even in times of crisis. “The government must deal with various problems side by side.”
Ministers and advisers in various fields work in any government to handle different affairs, “they said, noting that experts in the health sector will deal with issues related to the Coronavirus and in the same way other experts in their fields should carry out them. side-by-side work. They call the opposition’s point of view “Criticism after criticism”.
It is necessary to understand here that the government wants the Opposition to formally share its willingness to participate in electoral reform and other bodies of Parliament to resolve pending problems.
On the other hand, the Opposition Parties during the last few months did not participate in the DPR bodies which were formed to resolve pending problems. In the last six months, MPR Chair Asad Qaiser has also canceled three important meetings held to discuss and resolve pending problems.
Parliamentary experts believe the government will succeed in engaging the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in talks after Eid. Other opposition parties will also have no other option to sit with the government to express their views on electoral reform. It can be noted here that the governing coalition parties have convinced their support of introducing electoral voting machines (EVMs) in the country’s electoral process.