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    Article Details
    Preparing the Transparent Electoral Rolls
    Thursday, April 26, 2012 (05:20 PST)

    "Prepare the electoral list on the basis of National Data Base registered of the all the national Identity card holders and electoral list should also contain voters N.I.C. number and their photo on the voter list, to remove ambiguity."

    National elections are approaching and are less than one year away but the nation is still in search of true mandate for the political party that will lead the nation for the next five years. Already under challenge are more than 3 crores bogus votes before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Another issue which we face is registration of new votes and correct votes.

    The question arises amidst these controversies that whether the nation will find their true mandate this time? Will the correct people vote in the forth coming elections? Or still cries will be heard after the elections that it is a mandate on the basis of bogus votes?

    Lets us briefly discuss the preparation of electoral rolls and conduct of general election with regard to voting in the General Elections. Article 7 A of the Conduct of General Election Order,2002 fixes the age of a voter at 18 years ( New Conduct for General Election Order shall be announced before the next general elections). S 6 of Electoral Roll Act, 1974 deals with the preparation of preliminary Electoral Rolls. It mentions that a person shall be entitled to be enrolled as a voter in an electoral area, if he is a citizen of Pakistan, not less than 18 years on the 1st of January of the year in which the preparation or revision of the electoral rolls commences under this act, the person is not declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind and he is deemed to be resident in the electoral area. Plus section 25 of the Electoral Rolls Act 1974 puts embargo that no person shall be enrolled, on the electoral roll for any electoral area more than once or on the electoral rolls for more than one electoral area. Section 17 of Electoral Rolls Act, 1974 makes it compulsory that electoral roll shall be revised and corrected annually. S 33 of Representation of the People's Act 1976 places a condition on the presiding officer of the election that he shall not issue a ballot paper to a voter who presents himself at the polling station, unless presiding officer satisfy himself about the identity of the elector and shall for that purpose, require the elector to produce his identity card provided for in the National Registration Act, 1973 or issued under the National Database and Registration Authority Ordinance, 2000.

    We all know that the voter age is 18 years to vote in the general election. The responsibility for conducting the free, fair and transparent election will fall on the care taker cabinet and the election commission of Pakistan. Hopefully with the passing of the 18th and 20th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, theoretically we have independent, bold and worthwhile election commission which shall hold the free, fair and transparent elections and prepare clean electoral roll for the nation and let the

    people of Pakistan find their true mandate but practical transparency and fairness shall be tested in the forth coming elections.

    Despite the improvements in the selections of the care taker cabinet and the selecting the chief election commission by the leader of the house and leader of the opposition and preparation of clean electoral rolls by the election commission, there remains some room for the improvement in the election laws.

    What need to be done is to ensure that correct people are voting in the elections. For achieving this purpose the electoral roll should be made of National Data Base registered of the all the national Identity card holders and voters list should contain voters N.I.C. number and their photo on the voter list, so that duplication of the voters is curtailed and if a person is enrolled on more than one electoral area or twice in same electoral area, he/she can be identified through computer and bogus electoral list may be corrected and this procedure will also help identify the elector on a voting day when his NIC card number and his/ her photo is on the electoral list. It would be helpful in identifying the voter and there will be reduced or next to impossible chance to caste a bogus vote.

    Hopefully the political rivals will not doubt the elections if the correct electoral list is prepared and voters are easily identified on the voting day.

    To bring further fairness and transparency in the elections the most important role will be on the election commission who has to show back bone in the elections and take actions against the people who are trying to steal he mandate of the people by displaying the weapons, resorting to violence, violating the election code or using other means to steal the mandate of the people. For this election commission has to take actions against the culprits whosoever tries to improvise the election process. Army and rangers may also be called for helping and assisting the election commission in the conducting the General elections. Their presence on the streets on Election Day gives confidence to the voters to go to the election booth and join electoral process.

    Hopefully by observing these formalities, and in presence of vibrant media, the will of the people of Pakistan and honesty of the political parties, the nation will find the true mandate and elect its true representatives and our next rulers may lead our country towards prosperity and progress.

    Muqtedir Akhtar Shabir, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan.

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