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Think Tank recommends Strategic Overhaul in Pakistan’s Electoral Landscape

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Abstract:

The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) has unveiled an extensive “Reform Agenda,” offering a roadmap for transformative changes in the electoral and governance systems of Pakistan. This article delves into the multifaceted recommendations presented by PIDE, exploring their potential impact on political dynamics, governance structures, and the overall democratic framework of the country.

In response to the evolving challenges and dynamics of Pakistani politics, PIDE’s ‘Reform Agenda’ emerges as a crucial initiative to address and enhance the electoral and governance mechanisms. The proposed reforms cover a wide spectrum, from the constitutional term of the government to the functioning of political parties, aiming to foster a more robust and responsive democratic system.

 

  1. Reducing Government Term and Empowering Election Commission:

One of the primary recommendations involves truncating the constitutional term of an elected government from five to four years. Simultaneously, the abolishment of the interim government system is proposed, accompanied by efforts to grant independence, autonomy, and enhanced powers to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

 

  1. Candidate Contestation and Overseas Representation:

PIDE advocates for limiting candidates from contesting elections for more than one seat concurrently, aiming to diversify political representation. Another notable proposal suggests the inclusion of overseas Pakistanis through the reservation of seats in both the National and provincial assemblies, recognizing their significance in the national discourse.

 

  1. Election Campaign Finance and Regular Elections:

Addressing the financial aspects of elections, PIDE suggests imposing a ban on campaign expenses to foster fair competition. Additionally, the recommendation for regular elections for every parliamentary seat seeks to maintain an active and engaged political landscape.

 

  1. Issue-Based Debates and Technological Integration:

Promoting a more informed electorate, the agenda encourages issue-based debates among election candidates. The integration of electronic voting machines or online voting aims to modernize the electoral process, ensuring efficiency, transparency, and accuracy.

 

  1. Cabinet Size Limitations and Performance-Based Governance:

To streamline the governance structure, PIDE proposes limiting the size of the federal cabinet to 8-10 ministers and the overall cabinet size to 25, inclusive of the prime minister’s special assistants. The emphasis on performance-based promotions for government officers aligns with principles of meritocracy.

 

  1. Political Party Reforms:

The reform agenda outlines stringent criteria for new political parties, requiring a minimum of 50,000 registered voters for registration. Moreover, PIDE advocates for intra-party elections every three years, underscoring the importance of internal democracy within political entities.

 

  1. Parliamentary Participation and Separation of Powers:

Highlighting the need for enhanced parliamentary participation, PIDE suggests mechanisms to ensure lawmakers’ attendance and active engagement in debates. Proposals to ban the release of development funds through a single parliamentary seat and the separation of powers between the parliament and executive aim to fortify democratic institutions.

 

Conclusion:

PIDE’s ‘Reform Agenda’ emerges as a comprehensive and forward-looking initiative, offering a blueprint for a revitalized democratic process in Pakistan. The proposed reforms, spanning from electoral mechanisms to governance structures, reflect a commitment to fostering transparency, inclusivity, and efficiency in the country’s political landscape. The successful implementation of these reforms has the potential to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure a more responsive and accountable governance system for the benefit of the Pakistani populace.

Wasim Qadri
Wasim Qadrihttp://wasimqadriblog.wordpress.com/
Islamabad based Senior Journalist, TV Show Host, Media Trainer, can be follow on twitter @jaranwaliya

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