President returns bills regarding election reforms, NAB ordinance
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President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday returned two bills seeking to reverse the controversial changes made in the election laws by the previous PTI government regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and i-voting for overseas Pakistanis and clipping the vast powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), to the prime minister for "reconsideration and detailed deliberation by the parliament and its committee(s)", reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Both bills were passed by the National Assembly and the Senate last month. After their approval from both houses, only the president's assent was required for them to become law.
President Alvi returned both the bills under section 1b of Article 75 advising that the parliament nad its sub-committees should reconsider the bills.
However, President Alvi returned the bills today, saying that they had violated Article 46 of the Constitution, according to which the prime minister "shall keep the president informed on all matters of internal and foreign policy and on all legislative proposals the federal government intends to bring before Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)".
The president was not informed about the legislative proposals before bringing the bills to parliament, which is a violation of Article 46, a statement from the President's Secretariat said.
President said both the bills were got passed from the national assembly on May 26 and from the senate on May 27 in a haste
President said such legislation having a long-lasting impact should have been discussed with the layer community and the civil society.
President said overseas Pakistanis contribute to the country’s prosperity through their hard-earned income and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also endorsed the voting rights of the overseas Pakistanis in 2014 and 2018, who can be given the right to vote by improving the technological facilities.
President said the court in its decision has said that i-voting has been declared a safe and reliable method by the third parties.
“The overseas Pakistanis have been given voting rights under Article 17 of the constitution.”
President noted that worth $8.5billion dollar safe transactions are being made globally daily.
He said in Pakistan’s voting machine there is a complete system of a paper trail as the electronic voting machine helps in printing and counting the ballot papers.
President said election results are usually being challenged in Pakistan and every government faces the (rigging) allegations.
President said the new amendments equaling to taking one step forward and two steps back and causing unnecessary delay in bringing the transparency and improvement in the technical aspects of the elections.
President asked the parliament not to go backwards and instead ensure the implementation of the election laws by further improving them.
On the NAB amendments, President noted that the amendments had made the NAB ordinance like the criminal law of 1898 by putting the onus of proof on the prosecution.
He said through these amendments, it has been made impossible for the prosecution to prove the allegations of corruption and abuse of the authority.
President said the accountability process would be dead through these amendments in the NAB laws, which are also against the Islamic Jurisprudence and it would also make it impossible to get the money trail of the illegal assets whereas all the cases pending in the courts regarding mega corruption will bear no results.
President noted that to end the corruption, the accountability process should have been made more powerful.