Despite in power, PPP, PML-N didn’t introduce election reforms, says Shibli Faraz

Shibli faraz

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Saturday said democracy derived strength from free, fair and transparent elections and the opposition’s stance against open ballot in Senate elections was illogical and beyond comprehension.
Talking to reporters after submitting his nomination papers for the Senate elections at the Election Commission of Pakistan here, he said the government was striving to devise an inclusive mechanism so that no one could question the credibility of polls in future.
He said free, fair and transparent elections helped to flourish democracy and strengthen democratic institutions, adding, the electoral reforms would help ensure credibility, impartiality and transparency of elections including the Senate polls.
Senator Shibli Faraz said instead of supporting the government’s efforts to introduce electoral reforms, the opposition was creating hurdles by opposing the holding of the Senate elections through the open ballot. “This was tantamount to encouraging horse-trading and corruption during the election process,” he maintained.
He said the opposition parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that ruled the country after the 2008 and 2013 general elections, respectively, did not bother to introduce electoral reforms to check horse-trading, corruption and sale and purchase of votes during the Senate elections.
The minister said the opposition was still trying to prevent electoral reforms that were aimed at eliminating chances of corruption, sale and purchase of votes and horse-trading in Senate elections.
Despite having power, influence and resources, he said the government had offered to the opposition to hold the Senate polls through the open ballot to fight corruption and horse-trading but response of the opposition towards the key legislation was pathetic.
“How a political party having representation of few members in the parliament or a provincial assembly secure a seat in the Senate election?” he asked. He added that the opposition did not learn any lesson from the past and would try to purchase political loyalties in a bid to get representation in the upper house of the parliament.
He asked whether the people would want their children to follow in the footsteps of a leader like Prime Minister Imran Khan or Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.
Shibli Faraz said the electoral reforms would open doors of elections for the middle class and professionals to actively participate in the decision-making process and the country’s socio-economic development.
He said PTI lawmakers would extend all-out support to candidates who were given the party tickets by the leadership. He expressed the confidence that PTI would emerge as the largest political party in the Upper House of Parliament after which it would be in a position to implement its manifesto and make electoral reforms.
The minister said PTI believed in service delivery to the people and had awarded tickets on merit keeping in view the integrity, loyalty, commitment and services of the candidates.
“Any political worker or leader that supports the agenda of the PTI government, its election manifesto and anti-corruption efforts will be respected and considered as an asset,” he added.
The minister appreciated the KP government for launching the universal health coverage for the entire pollution of the province through the ”Sehat Plus Card” programme and termed it a milestone achievement to provide free healthcare facilities to millions of people.
Provincial ministers Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Kamran Bangash were also present on the occasion.