At a gathering here on Thursday, the politicians from PML-N, PML-Q,PTI, Awami National Party and Awami Workers Party urged all stakeholders, including the Election Commission of Pakistan and the judiciary to play their role in ensuring that the upcoming elections were held in free and fair manner.
PML-N MNA Anusha Rehman shared key recommendations while the new code has empowered local ECP staff with magisterial powers for action on electoral complaints while a complete ban has been recommended on the use of banners and hoardings except those that meet the notified size requirements.
Referring to the Supreme Court judgement, Anusha said her party wants zero expenditure during their election campaigns. She said that the Parliamentary Committee had recommended seven years imprisonment without bail for the display of weapons. Bushra Gohar Central Vice President ANP demanded that redundant and repetitive provisions contained in the code must be eliminated.
She further noted that there were already enough election laws covering many issues contained in the code, like the display of arms, the harassment of women, illegal hoardings, discrimination, and incitement to violence.
The ECP must ensure the role of agencies is minimised to the best possible extent, she added.
In order to curb electoral manipulation, the ban on the transfers and postings of officials around elections must be enforced, she said. She further said that the ECP must develop its own well-resourced and trained cadre at the local level.
The PTI Joint Secretary Younus Ali Raza recommended that the idea of mobile polling stations should be explored and introduced. He also said that a 48-hour period for the strict scrutiny of nomination papers was unrealistic.
Adequate time should be given to properly assess nominations, he said. President PML-Q Women Wing opined that parties facing financial constraints must be given adequate airtime on the media.
She underlined the need for women police to ensure security of women at polling stations.