ISLAMABAD: Senator Sherry Rehman took to twitter to criticize the government’s decision to pass the Election Act Amendment Bill 2020 which contained dozens of amended clauses to introduce electoral reforms. As many as 21 bills were unanimously passed, including those relating to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, electoral reforms, and the State Bank of Pakistan banking services amid a boycott by the opposition. The opposition members protested against the legislation and tried their level best to block the passage of bills but there were 112 treasury members and 101 of the opposition in the house. “20 bills were bulldozed in violation of basic rules of parliamentary standards, democracy and procedure without any consultation. Does the government think this is the last session of the National Assembly?” she asked. Shame!20 bills were bulldozed thru the National Assembly yesterday in a terrible travesty of parliamentary norms,democracy & basic rules of procedure. Did #Tabahisarkar think this was the last session of the NA that they threw so many bills into 1 agenda minus any consultation? — SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) June 11, 2021 The Senator expressed her displeasure outside the Election Commission while talking to the media. “The government wants to snatch the right to vote from the people. It seems that now the alarm bell has rung for the government. Clearly, this catastrophe is the beginning of the end of it.” Further, she added how reforms in election laws are possible through consultation; not by bulldozing bills and that the incumbent government was sowing the seeds of controversy in the upcoming elections. “They are bringing in laws that are bringing the country’s constitutional institutions into conflict and want to bring such a change in the election laws that will destroy the electoral system and the democratic system,” said Sherry Rehman. She vowed not to allow anyone’s right to be taken away and to stand against injustice. Addressing the media outside Election Commission Pakistan, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “We came to meet the Chief Election Commissioner to convey our grievances on the electoral reforms which should have been debated in the parliament and a decision should have been made keeping in mind the views of all the parties. The bill that this government has bulldozed through the NA is a direct subversion to our electoral and democratic system. The government wants to institutionalise rigging and also to curtail ECP’s powers through this bill”. “ECP’s reports on electronic and internet voting were not tabled in the parliament since the last three years. Instead, the government bulldozed this bill. The ruling party has made a habit of bypassing the parliament and promulgating ordinances. For e- and i-voting to be introduced in Pakistan, all our political parties must agree on it but as always, this government has acted with undue and unnecessary haste. It’s ironic that they are talking about transparency in elections when we all know who has been involved with rigging.” she added. “This and other important bills should not have been passed without the consultation of all political parties but they still went ahead with it. On one hand the government invited the opposition parties for talks on the reforms but no one was allowed to speak or read or make amendments to important bills. How will parliament work?” she questioned. Rehman said, “It’s shocking that 21 bills were bulldozed through the National Assembly yesterday in a terrible travesty of parliamentary norms, democracy and basic rules of procedure. Did Tabahi Sarkar think this was the last session of the NA that they threw so many bills into one agenda minus any consultation?” “The government has already made the upcoming elections controversial as everyone has reservations on using EVMs. These machines can easily get hacked and the vote count can be tempered. This will only make electoral fraud easier. PPP has always been an advocate of electoral reforms and it would make more sense if ECP carried out these reforms. We will never let the government damage our democratic system and will always take a stand to protect peoples’ right to vote,” concluded Vice President PPP Senator Sherry Rehman Syed Naveed Qamar and Nayyar Hussain Bukhari who were also present said the Election Commission had already expressed its reservations in the parliamentary committee and that the government should let the ECP do their job instead of finding ways to pressurize them.