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December 1, 2017

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Amendment to election law: Zafarul Haq body to determine whether it was conspiracy or not

ISLAMABAD: The Raja Zafarul Haq probe committee is now preparing a detailed report to determine who did what in the preparation of draft for objectionable amendments to the election law and if there was some conspiracy involved or not.

The challenge before the committee is to fix the responsibility unless it is established that it was a pure mistake or a lapse on part of parliament, which passed the law, and the parliamentary committee, which after deliberations of almost three years had prepared the final draft to carry out electoral reforms.

The Raja Zafarul Haq probe committee had prepared a two-page report and submitted it to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who reportedly has sought the detailed report. The initial report is now being dubbed as preliminary findings of the committee.

Although, neither the government nor the PML-N has made the report public, The News has already published the report without disclosing the names of ministers mentioned in the document.

The preliminary report was though inconclusive to answer the fundamental question whether objectionable amendments to the Election Law was a conspiracy or a mistake, still it recommended that action “must be” taken against the responsible.

The report vaguely reflected on two ministers’ role but did not even conclude in clear terms if they were responsible. Although, the report did talk about a minister and some others (not named in the report) for having prepared the draft at the committee level, it was not mentioned if the minister had made the objectionable changes.

Following the Faizabad sit-in, Zahid Hamid had to leave as the law minister; however, the report did not show him the person having prepared the draft at the committee level. Mentioning the name of the minister (not Zahid Hamid), the report said that the minister was “one of those who had prepared the draft at the committee level”. Regarding the other minister, the report said, “He admitted that basically it was his primary responsibility to see that the draft does not contain anything controversial but somehow he felt that he could not perform his duty despite his legal acumen, experience and command of language.”

Overall, there has been a lapse on part of parliament for failing to notice the change and also for not responding positively to the amendments moved by Senate Hafiz Hamdullah in the Senate and MNA Sahibzada Tariqullah in the National Assembly.

Some of the political parties have started playing politics on this issue, which needs careful handling to ensure that only those responsible are named and that too in clear terms as to what was wrong on their part. Once the second and final report is finalised and submitted to the PML-N chief, it is expected to be made public as has been agreed between the government and the Tehreek Labaik leaders recently.

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