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Poll reforms urged for better representation


KARACHI: A section of civil society has recommended to the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms to ensure fair and adequate representation to all the people of all the federating units. Fair and adequate representation must be guaranteed to the marginalised and disadvantaged sections and groups such as the workers, peasants, women and minorities.
In a memorandum, titled  “The Need for Meaningful Electoral Reforms: A Memorandum submitted to the Parliamentary Committee” the civil society representatives urged the committee to immediately meet and discuss the important issues of electoral reforms, said a PILER release.
The civil society suggested the steps as elections for 50 percent of seats shall be constituency-based, which would naturally mean representation of the elite class who alone could afford to contest the constituency-based seats. The election to the remaining 50 percent seats shall be conducted on the basis of Proportionate Representation or Party List in order to facilitate the participation of persons with limited or no means - the marginalised sections of society.
The formula of 33 percent for labour-peasants and 33 percent for women in all the elections and elected bodies shall be ensured. Alternately, or till necessary constitutional, legal and administrative mechanisms are put in place, the political parties committed to a democratic political order, shall voluntarily ensure that their nominated candidates shall comprise 33 percent labour-peasants and 33% women.
Equally important is the need for all political parties to institutionalise inner party democracy within their parties by holding party elections in all tiers from bottom to top every two years in order to eliminate the existing practice of investing all party powers in the hands of the chairman-president or one or two other individuals at the top. This is all the more necessary to pre-empt favouritism and ensure fair and equitable nomination of candidates on the basis of merit for Party List in the elections.
Ensuring full and un-restrained representation of the entire people of the country in the elected bodies is the prime objective of a free and fair democratic election. They pointed that the anomaly in Pakistan that the local government system has been misused by dictatorial rulers to serve their vested interest at the cost of its defined task of serving the people at the lowest tier of the social structure. A genuine federal democratic system is incomplete without the establishment of a truly democratic local government system, empowered to address people’s problems at the local ‘grass roots’ level, free from bureaucratic meddling and red tape. 

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