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NA adopts Election Bill 2017 envisages reforms to ensure free, fair elections

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday adopted Election Bill 2017 envisaging wide-ranging reforms aimed at ensuring free, fair and transparent conduct of elections.

The house adopted amendments moved by the Law Minister including those having concurrence of the opposition members while other amendments of the opposition benches were rejected.

The bill consolidates eight election laws that would stand repealed once it becomes an act of parliament.

The reforms proposed in the bill include financial and administrative autonomy for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The bill envisages that citizens getting computerized National Identity Card from NADRA would automatically become voters.

Enabling provisions have been made for the Election Commission to conduct pilot project for utilization of Electronic Voting Machines and Biometric Verification and voting by Overseas Pakistanis.

Maximum limit of election expenses has been rationalized. New limits for expenses are 1.5 million rupees for election to a seat of Senate; four million for a seat of National Assembly and two million rupees for a seat of provincial assembly.

Under the bill, functions of the Caretaker Government have been confined to day to day, routine, non-controversial matters and shall not take major policy decisions except of urgent nature.

Political parties are required to allot at least five percent tickets against general seats to female candidates.

The house has now been progued.

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