Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Elections have never been free, fair, transparent: CEC

General elections in the 65-year-long checkered history of Pakistan have never been fair, free and transparent. This startling disclosure was made by the Chief Election Commissioner, former justice Fakharuddin G Ebrahim while talking to a Transparency International Pakistan delegation at his camp office here on Friday. "It is my last wish to hold fair and free elections in the country," he suggested TI Pakistan to assist him in achieving his target.

He was all praise for the services being rendered by Transparency International Pakistan, a civil society organisation, in fighting corruption in the country. He said that he held Transparency International Pakistan in high esteem because it was the only international body which has picked up cudgels against the scourage of corruption in Pakistan.

The CEC said he was surrounded by a well entrenched bureaucracy which had to be tamed to ensure holding of elections which could be remembered as role model and serve as a beacon light for future generations. The Transparency International Pakistan delegation comprised Transparency International Pakistan's Chairman Sohail Muzaffar, Executive Director Saad Rashid, and Transparency International Pakistan Adviser Syed Adil Gilani. The focus of discussion between CEC and Transparency International Pakistan delegation was on the six reform proposals forwarded to him on July 21 this year.

The CEC appreciated the reforms suggested by Transparency International Pakistan. Former Justice Fakharuddin discussed the proposed reforms one by one. He agreed with the suggestion on installing of Web Camera System (WCS) at every polling booth for 24 hours for real-time internet monitoring of elections. He asked for estimated cost of the system and means to finance it. On the proposal that the assets and taxation details of parliamentarians available with the CEC for 2012, and recent electoral rolls be posted on the website of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The CEC agreed and promised to implement it.

On the use of paperless Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines, the CEC said he would consider using it on selected polling booths to start with the new system. The CEC also agreed that army should be deployed both inside and outside the polling station to control law and order.

Former Justice Fakharuddin G Ebrahim, requested media and civil society to play their full role towards holding free and transparent elections in the country. Sohail Muzaffar Advocate Chairman Transparency International Pakistan thanked the Chief Elections Commissioner and assured him that Transparency International Pakistan would be always available to contribute and play its role and assist ECP in whatever way it desired in holding free and fair elections. He assured that Transparency International Pakistan would consult experts to prepare estimated cost for internet real-time monitoring. 

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