ISLAMABAD: The Special Parliamentary Committee on Election Reforms elected Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as its chairman on Wednesday.
Dar’s election as chairman comes as the 33-member bi-partisan committee held its first meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday. The purpose of the first meeting was to elect the chairman, after which its members would formulate the terms of reference for the smooth functioning of the committee.
Next meeting of the committee will take place on August 11.
“(We) will try our best to run the committee in an impartial manner and will take recommendations for electoral reforms from all stakeholders,” said Dar.
The notification of his appointment has been issued by the National Assembly secretariat.
The committee, constituted on July 25, was tasked to “evaluate the shortcomings of the previous electoral process and make recommendations to hold free, fair and transparent elections” in the future.
Meeting of the committee was attended by Raza Rabbani, Zahid Hamid, Naveed Qamar, Ishaq Dar, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Aftab Sherpao, Rafiq Rajwana, Shazia Marri, Ijazul Haq, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Anousha Rehman, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Abdul Hakeem Baloch and Talha Mehmood.
Dar is a key cabinet member of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government and is considered very close to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Other members of the committee have already been chosen from both the upper and lower houses of the Parliament.
Wednesday’s meeting comes in the backdrop of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) gearing up for its Aug 14 ‘million’ march in Islamabad in protest of electoral rigging in the 2013 general elections and to press for electoral reforms.
The committee includes members from all government and opposition parties have their representation in the Senate or the National Assembly.
The PTI has already nominated three members – Shafqat Mehmood, Dr Shireen Mazari and Dr. Arif Alvi – for the electoral reforms committee.
Members include Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Senator Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Zahid Hamid, Anusha Rehman Khan Advocate, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baluch, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Abdul Hakeem Baluch and Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry nominated by the ruling PML-N.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the major opposition party in the National Assembly nominated Syed Naveed Qamar, Shazia Mari, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and Senator Farooq Hamid Naek.
Senator Col. Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Naeema Kishwar Khan and Dr Muhammad Farooq Sattar represent the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the electoral reforms committee.
Abdul Rahim Mandokhail from PKMAP, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao from Qaumi Watan Party, Ejaz ul Haq from PML-Z, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed from Awami Muslim League, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah from JI, Senator Haji Mohammad Adeel from ANP, Usman Khan Tarakai from Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan, Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi of National Peoples Party, Ghaus Bux Khan Mahar of PML-Functional, Syed Ghazi Ghulab Jamal from Independent members of the National Assembly, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed from PML, Senator Mir Israrullah Khan Zehri of BNP-A, Senator Hilal ur Rehman from FATA , Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood from JUI-F are also part of the committee.
– Irfan Haider contributed to the reporting