LAHORE: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Senator Sirajul Haq said on Thursday that comprehensive electoral reforms were imperative for a transparent and true democracy in the country.
Addressing a press conference at Mansoora, he said that the Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution should be strictly implemented. "The electoral system must be overhauled before the next elections to restore the confidence of the masses in the activity," he said. He said that because of electoral corruption, feudal lords, land mafia, capitalists and waideras managed to come into power. "The mandate is not secured, it is purchased. The so-called big political parties gather 'winning horses' in their stables and believed that they have won the polls," he said. Haq said that the masses had realised that the present electoral system worked for the rulers and not the masses. He said he would meet the heads of political parties, including Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan, and Maulana Fazlur Rahman, to bring them on one page regarding electoral reforms. Sirajul Haq said that the people had lost their faith in the electoral system. The people were disappointed with the election process. It gives rise to unrest and even terrorism," he said. He said that along with electoral reforms, the formation of an impartial and interim government, and a truly independent and sovereign Election Commission was also essential for a true and transparent democratic system. "The Election Commission's attitude shows that it is making a mockery of the Articles 62 and 63. The returning officers should be made fully independent and responsible and the election staff should be placed under them. This is essential to hold any who is involved in rigging accountable," he said. The JI chief said that the candidates must also be required to file a certificate for having given away the share of their sisters and daughters in the inherited property. "Casing votes is the right of every citizen, but generally the women folk have to face great problems in this regard. Special steps should be taken to facilitate women voters," he said. The JI chief said that election expenditure should be borne by the state. "An poor man cannot compete with a dishonest millionaire," he said. He also demanded that the overseas Pakistanis be provided an opportunity to exercise their right of vote.