ISLAMABAD: The federal government must issue guidelines to provinces for the protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights and entitlements of voters and candidates in the Provincial Local Government Acts (PLGAs) and clarify the role and authority of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the conduct of local elections, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in a press release issued on Sunday.
While the provincial autonomy as defined in the constitution must be protected, FAFEN believes the federal guidelines will help provinces to amend their PLGAs to bring uniformity on the question of citizens’ electoral rights.
Terming the provincial legislations confusing on election-related areas, FAFEN says the local government elections will continue to face one technical obstacle after another in the absence of clarity of election-related matters.
It is in this view FAFEN has proposed a Federal Framework Legislation for the Conduct of Local Government Elections covering minimum standards and guidelines to the provinces on critical election-related matters. Such guidelines will also clear the existing confusions, mostly technical in nature, that have so far delayed the conduct of elections in three provinces.
FAFEN proposes that federal framework law should include minimum standards and guidelines to ensure uniformity in provincial legislations on basic electoral rights and processes, including qualification of voters, eligibility of candidates, periodicity of elections, voting and counting processes, minimum quota for reserved seats for women, minorities, peasants and workers, criteria for reservation of seats, eligibility for reserved seats candidates, responsibility for preparation of voters rolls, processes for the indirect elections, secrecy of voting in direct and indirect elections, basic principles for delimitation, election complaints and election dispute settlement mechanisms and authority ECP to frame rules and regulations in the light of the PLGAs to insulate electoral process from the executive.