Pakistan to amend Articles 62, 63 of Constitution to reduce duration of disqualification

Last Updated: Tue, Aug 22, 2017 22:47 hrs

[Pakistan], Aug.22 (ANI): The Government of Pakistan has decided to amend Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid informed the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Article 62 of the Constitution deals with qualifications for membership of Parliament, while Article 63 deals with disqualifications for membership of Parliament.

According to the Dawn, the National Assembly was called upon to debate amendments to a proposed election law put forward by opposition parties. He said the government will take up the matter with the reforms committee.

The government rejected a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) suggestion to set the maximum duration of disqualification at five years.

Noting that there was no explicit duration for disqualification set under the current law, Hamid said, "We want the duration of disqualification to be less than five years."

The National Assembly, during the session, voted its approval for the Election Bill 2017.

According to the bill, the president will have to consult the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before announcing a date for general elections.

Under the proposed law, the ECP will be bound to submit an annual report of its performance to the government, which will be presented before the federal and provincial assemblies.

Here are the salient features of the proposed law:

. ECP will have the authority to take action against polling staff for negligence.

. Bail of any candidate, who receives less than one-fourth of the total votes, will be confiscated.

. ECP will no longer have the authority to make any changes in nomination papers of the candidates.

. Candidates will now have 28 instead of 21 days for running the election campaign.

. Votes of male and female voters will be counted separately in the general elections.

. Limits will be imposed on the budget spent on campaigning by political parties.

. Returning officers will not have the authority to publish extra ballot papers.

. The lawmakers will be required to submit wealth statements every year.

. Anyone who intimidates or harms ECP staff will have to pay a fine of Rs0.1 million or will be sent to jail for two years.

. Anyone who takes picture of the ballot papers or shows their vote to others will face the same punishment.

. Every political party will have to hold intra-party elections every five years.

. Differently-abled people will be able to cast their vote through postal service.

. Election tribunals will comprise serving judges instead of retired ones.

The National Assembly concluded a debate on the proposed election law, during which almost all opposition parties raised objections over various clauses of the bill.

Expressing his anger at the opposition, Hamid asked why these objections were not raised during the 'exhaustive' consultation process. (ANI)

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