Move to allow voters enrol on ‘third address’ opposed
February 21 2019 12:45 AM
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Internews/Islamabad

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed the move to allow voters enrol in areas other than their addresses on computerised national identity cards (CNICs).
ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammed told the committee that around 15mn voters are enrolled on ‘third address’, adding that would allow room for fake voters to be registered
with the commission.
After his objections, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs deferred decision till next meeting for a substitution in the Election Act 2019.
The move would allow voters to enrol on an address other than the permanent and temporary addresses mentioned in their CNICs.
The committee considered amendment in Section 6 and substitution of Section 27 in the Elections Amendment Bill 2018, moved by lawmaker Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali.
The committee meeting was chaired by lawmaker Mujahid Ali and attended by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammed Khan and a number of legislators at the Parliament House.
The minister urged the mover to take back his amendment and bring an adjournment motion at the floor of the house.
Chitrali was of the view that it would be a human rights violation if a voter was denied his right to vote because of a difference of address on the voters list and his national identity card.
The mover of the amendment in Election Bill proposed substitution of Section 27 suggesting, “the registration of a voter at an address other than the permanent or temporary address mentioned in his National Identity Card shall remain valid till he applies for transfer of his vote or for modification of his national identity card in which case his vote shall be registered according to the temporary or permanent address mentioned in the national identity card”.
Chitrali said the purpose of the amendment was to save hundreds of thousands of people from a futile exercise in which elders, women and youth would have to pass through the practice of registering their votes afresh and have to change addresses in their
identity cards.
Though government employees had been exempted but their children were not entitled to avail this exemption and they would have to submit application afresh to get their names registered in the voters list after December 31, 2018.
The voters were facing the implication of Section 27 of the Election Act-2017. As the deadline of December 31, 2018 had come to an end, the Election Commission of Pakistan had launched a nationwide campaign to make general public aware about the change of vote of those persons who were
registered on third address.
Parliament inserted Section 27 to maintain transparency of electoral rolls on the recommendations of bipartisan Electoral Reforms Committee which evaluated pros and cons
thoroughly.
According to the Ministry of Parliament Affairs, most of the complaints related to the registration of bogus votes were raised due to the fact that alleged voters were registered on addresses other than the
addresses on their CNICs.
The implementation of the existing provision of Section 27 shall bring transparency and will further improve accuracy of the Electoral Rolls.
Another item on the agenda of the committee was amendment to Subsection 3 of Section 6 of the Elections Act-2017 which provided for constitution of a bench of the ECP consisting of three or more members of the commission to decide various complaints, applications, petitions and appeals
submitted to it.
Due to this provision only one bench of the commission comprising at least three members might be constituted since the total number of members of the ECP including its chairman
was five.
Thus the commission was facing immense difficulties in disposal of higher number of complaints, petitions and appeals through a single bench.
Keeping in view this situation, the Senate passed the amendment on November 16, 2018 to enable the commission to constitute two benches at a time by reducing members of bench from three to two.
The committee approved amendment to Section 6(3) of the Election Act 2017, already passed by the Senate.



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