BEFORE THE ELECTION COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN, ISLAMABAD
BRIEF STATEMENT CONCERNING THE OBJECTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS AND PROPOSALS IN RESPECT OF ANY PROVISION OF THE DRAFT ELECTIONS RULES 2017 BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PAKISTAN (CPP) DULY REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTY WITH ELECTION COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN ISLAMABAD.
1. That the press release and the Notification dated 12th of October, 2017 of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) notifying to the General Public of Pakistan that the ECP is pleased to publish the Draft Elections Rules 2017 with the direction that the objections or suggestions in respect of any provision of the Elections Rules 2017 may be filed in ECP Secretariat Islamabad by 26th October, 2017.
- That in compliance with the above directions of the Commission, the applicant is a political party established in almost every country of the world. In some parts of the world, the Communist Party is a ruling party and in the rest of the countries, it is opposition of the ruling party. Its basic manifesto is to have socialism based on the ideology of Karl Marx, who was a German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist and a great revolutionary of all era. The Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) under its subjective condition is in the political arena since long for the social change, free from exploitation of man by man and is working for the welfare of the downtrodden and poor masses. The CPP is a registered political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan under the Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 with Sickle as its election symbol and it was the first time that the Communist Party too took part in General Elections of 2013 but the peoples not voted for our party and we with open heart accepted all the results against our party.
Accordingly, the CPP files this application with brief statement, suggestions and proposals through its Central Chairman, Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik to apprise our party view point concerning the objections or suggestions or proposals in respect of any provision of the Elections Rules 2017, which are now to be filed in ECP Secretariat Islamabad by 26th October,2017 through the courier ‘TCS’ for the kind considerations of the Election Commission on the following facts and grounds, inter-alia:-
(A) OBJECTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY (CPP).
Firstly – Sub-Rule 4 of Rule 138 of Draft Election Rules 2017 reads as under:-
“(4) The petition shall also be accompanied by a receipt showing that the petitioner has deposited at any branch of the National Bank of Pakistan as security for the costs of the petition, a sum of twenty thousand rupees in the head of account “C03-Miscellaneous Receipts, C038-Others, C03870-Others (Election Receipts)”.”
In the repealed Representation of Peoples Act, 1976, it was Rs.1000/-only and now the increase of price of Rs.1000/- to Rs.20000/- in sub-rule 4 of Rule 138 is not justified at all. Therefore, it should be reduced as Rs.1000/- instead of Rs.20000/- as proposed now.
Secondly – Sub-Rule 3 of Rule 153 of Draft Elections Rules 2017 reads as under:-
“(3) The sum of two hundred thousand rupees shall be deposited in State Bank of Pakistan or National Bank of Pakistan as enlistment fee in the head of account “C03 Miscellaneous Receipts, C038-Others, C03870-Others (Election Receipts)”
In the repealed Representation of Peoples Act, 1976 and all other election laws, there was no fee for registration of a new political party. It is a poor country and majority peoples are very poor and living in miserable conditions. The Election Commission of Pakistan and the bourgeoisie, feudal, rich and elite classes don’t want any representation of the political parties like Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), Mazdoor Kissan Party (MKP) and others parties who represents only the labours, peasants, downtrodden and poor masses of Pakistan. How can party like CPP and others who are representing the working class, downtrodden and poor masses of Pakistan can afford Rs.2,00,000/- as Registration Fee? In Pakistan, all the rightist political parties like PPP, PMLN, PTI, ANP, MQM, PML(Q) and others National Parties are rich comprising of feudal, bourgeoisie and elite classes and sections of our society and all these political parties represents the interest of the feudal and bourgeoisies and so for them Rs.2,00,000/- is just a very small and petty money.
Keeping in view as above stated, the Registration Fee of Rs.2,00,000/- for the registered political parties may kindly be waived off and the old system of registration of political parties without any fee may kindly be restored.
Thirdly – The Rule 51 as a whole of Draft Elections Rules 2017 reads as under:-
“51. Deposit for nomination.—(1) The Returning Officer shall maintain a register in Form-28 in which he shall enter the particulars of every cash deposit made to him under section 61 or of the bank draft or deposit receipt of the National Bank of Pakistan accompanying a nomination paper.
(2) Receipt of a cash deposit or of a bank draft, as the case may be, by the Returning Officer shall be acknowledged in Form-29 and the amount received in cash or through bank draft shall be deposited by him at a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan.
(3) The head of account for the purpose of deposit at a branch of the National Bank of Pakistan shall be “G-11-Special Deposit Investment, G-112-Other Deposit Accounts, G-11220-Deposits in connection with Elections”.
(4) The return of a deposit which is required to be refunded under sub-section (3) of section 61 shall be authorized under the seal and signature of the Returning Officer.”
Previously in was Rs.4000/- and 2000/- for the nomination of National and Provincial Assemblies but in section 61 of the Elections Act 2017, it was fixed as Rs.30000/- and Rs.20000/- for the National and Provincial Assemblies, which is too much. The old practice of Rs.4000/- and Rs.2000/- as fee for National and Provincial Assemblies was within the limit of a poor and middle class peoples to contest the elections. It seems to us that the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Parliamentarians from all the rightist and national parties like PPP, PMLN, PTI, ANP, MQM, PML(Q) and others don’t want to see any members in the National and Provincial Assemblies from the left political parties like CPP, MKP and AWP who are representing the downtrodden and poor masses of Pakistan. Such an increase in election fee only means that the present Parliament is a place of bourgeoisies, feudal, rich and elite classes of our society and this aspect contradicts the basic philosophy of the Article 2-A, 3 and others such like Articles of the Constitution of the Pakistan, 1973 and that of democracy which gives right to every downtrodden and poor citizen of Pakistan to contest the election but in the presence of such a heavy fee as now imposed in Section 61 of the Elections Act 2017, how it can be possible for a downtrodden workers, peasants and laborers’ belonging to the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), Mazdoor Kissan Party (MKP) and Awami Workers Party (AWP) to contest the General Elections of 2018?
Keeping in view as above stated, the Nomination Fee of Rs.30000/- and Rs.20000/- may now kindly be waived off and the old Nomination Fee of Rs.4000/- and Rs.2000/- for National and Provincial Assemblies may kindly be restored for a fair and free elections of 2018.
Fourthly – The Rule 135 of Draft Elections Rules 2017 reads as under:-
“135. Action relating to election expenses.—(1) In accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 136, the concerned officer of the Commission shall, on receipt of original return of election expenses and documents under rule 135, scrutinize the election expenses in respect of each contesting candidate.
(2) In order to ascertain the veracity of the bills, receipts or other documents, the officer may contact the printer, the publisher or any other vender by whom such bills, receipts or documents were issued.
(3) The process of scrutiny of returns under section 136 shall be completed within a period of 90 days from the date of submission of return of election expenses.”
That the maximum limit of expenditure to contest the General Elections 2013 was fixed at Rs.15,00,000/- for election of National Assembly and Rs.10,00,000/- for the election of Provincial Assembly vide section 49 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and now the maximum limit of expenditure to contest the General Elections 2018 is fixed at Rs.40,00,000/- for election of National Assembly and Rs.20,00,000/- for the election of Provincial Assembly vide sub-section 3 of the Section 132 of the Elections Act, 2017 but 99% of the candidates spends more than one and half crores to three crores of Rupees or even more and submit false return of election expenses due to fear of disqualification from the membership of assembly and the winning candidates always concealed all their major and actual expenses incurred during their election campaign and shows a very small and petty amount incurred on their election expenses, otherwise in practice and during the election campaign, 99% of the winning candidates in General Elections of 2013 in fact violated the limits of Rs. 15 lac and Rs. 10 lac as allowed to them vide section 49 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and even this sole score was/is sufficient for their disqualification but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission of Pakistan takes any Notice of their fake, frivolous and false election expenses and the net result is that the poor peasants, workers, downtrodden and the ordinary peoples cannot contest the elections with the rich, feudal, bourgeoisie and the elite classes of Pakistan.
This section of the election law spending expenditure on election be strictly followed and the limits of Rs.40,000,00/- and Rs.20,000,00/- for National and provincial Assembly be reduced to Rs.15,00,000/- and Rs.10,000,00/- for National and Provincial Assembly as it was practice in the past.
In our party opinion, for election you don’t need money. You need only will and election manifesto. One Salam carried election campaign on his bicycle in Peshawar against Arbab Niaz elder brother of Ex-Chief Minister Arbab Jehangir and won that election.
The applicant party is seeking reduction in expenditure in election campaign only for this purpose that the peoples with money cannot become the member of the National and Provincial Assemblies.
The applicant himself contested election of National Assembly twice on party ticket of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and spent a very little amount in both the elections.
It is totally wrong concept that you need money for elections. No one can stop others to spend billions on elections and similarly no one stop you if you do election campaign without spending any money.
The feudal, bourgeoisies, rich and elite classes all wants that an ordinary and poor people’s should not contest the elections and they give them impressions to the general public that if you don’t have a millions or billions of Rupees, you cannot contest the elections, which is totally and practical wrong saying.
For election, one only needs party ticket of CPP and election fee but election fee now enhanced from Rs.4000/- to Rs.30000/- for National Assembly and Rs.2000/- to Rs.20000/- for Provincial Assembly are too much for a poor peasants, workers, downtrodden masses of our country and the applicant has also raised the issue of reduction of election fee for nomination in this application.
In our party opinion, during election campaigns, you don’t need chairs and stage. Just by standing yourself in front of peoples you can address your elections campaign from one Mohallah to others and for that you only need one handset of microphone and nothing else.
(B) PROPOSALS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF PAKISTAN (CPP).
- That the one law concerning the corrupt and illegal practices under the Representation of the People Act, 1976 have been intentionally ignored, omitted and deleted by all the Parliamentarians of PMLN, PTI, PML(Q), PPP, MQM, ANP and all other nationalists and religious parties in the Parliament while passing the newly Elections Act 2017. The reason is as to why all these bourgeoisies parties in the Parliament have ignored, omitted and deleted one law concerning the illegal and corrupt practices is now narrated below for the kind perusal and consideration of the present learned Election Commission of Pakistan and the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) graciously request this Honourable and present learned Election Commission of Pakistan to pass an appropriate orders in this context for holding free and fair elections scheduled in year 2018 on the following illegal and corrupt practices narrated as under:-
Firstly – That the transportation of voters from home to polling stations and then back to home was violation of the section 78(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and was a punishable offence under the section 82 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years but surprisingly the section 78(5) which reads as under:-
“(5) knowingly, in order to support or oppose a candidate, lends, employs, hires, borrows or uses any vehicle or vessel for the purposes of conveying to or from the polling station any elector except himself and members of his immediate family;”
was altogether omitted, ignored and deleted from the Section 167 to 186 and all others sections of the Elections Act, 2017.
This section was purposely omitted, ignored and deleted by all the Parliamentarians while passing the Elections Act 2017 as 99% of the candidates of all these bourgeoisie political parties violates section 78(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 for bringing the voters from their home to polling stations and then back to their home on the day of polling and this action by them not only violated the Article 4 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties but also violated the section 78 (5) of the Representation of the People Act which states that “knowingly, in order to support or oppose a candidate, lends, employs, hires, borrows or uses any vehicle or vessel for the purpose of conveying to or from the polling station any elector except himself and members of his immediate family.” The violation of section 78 (5) was a punishable offence with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both u/s 82 of the Act but surprisingly after the omission and deletion of this section in the Elections Act 2017, neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission of Pakistan can take any action against them now.
This aspect of providing vehicles to the voters from home to polling station and back is a main hurdle for the common and ordinary man to contest the elections as common and the ordinary man cannot afford such expenses of transportation. Our request to the present learned Election Commission of Pakistan is either to include this deleted and omitted section of the Election Acts 2017 in the Draft Election Rules 2017 or alternatively an appropriate orders may kindly be passed to the Federal Government for providing the transportation by the Government itself to all the voters from home to polling station and back in the interest of free and fair elections of 2018.
Secondly – That also the candidates contesting the elections should be Ameen, sagacious, righteous and an honest person under Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 but a large majority of the contesting candidates of all the bourgeoisies political parties lacks all these qualities as above referred but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission of Pakistan cares and has taken any notice of it so far. What is then the purpose of the Article 62 in the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973? The present learned Election Commission of Pakistan should take notice of this specific qualifications of the candidates contesting the elections under Article 62 of the Constitution in the scheduled General Elections of 2018 or alternatively the Government and the Parliament should be directed to amend this Article and restore the original Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 which reads as under:-
“62. Qualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).– A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlise-Shoora (Parliament) unless—
(a) he is a citizen of Pakistan;
(b) he is, in the case of the National Assembly, not less than twenty five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll for election to that Assembly;
(c) he is, in the case of the Senate, not less than thirty years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any area in a Province or, as the case may be, the Federal Capital or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, from where he seeks membership; and
(d) he possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed by Act of Parliament.”
Thirdly – That the banners, posters and stickers used by all the bourgeoisies political parties are always of larger sizes than the prescribed sizes of (a) Posters 2’ x 3’ (b) Hoardings 3’ x 5’ and (c) Banners 3’ x 9’ but neither the Returning Officer nor the Election Commission take notice of it. The Returning Officer and the Election Commission of Pakistan were so partial and influenced that knowingly every violations of the bourgeoisies’ political parties closed their eyes and ears till the announcement of the election result.
Similarly the Section 181 of the Elections Act 2017 and the Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties completely prohibits any development schemes where the election is taking place but the party in powers whosoever it may be, never ever cares for such restrictions and Code of Conduct for Political Parties and announces development schemes in contrary to all election laws. The learned present Election Commission of commission may kindly also pass an appropriate orders in this context as deemed fit so as to have free and fair elections in our country.
- Sir! It would not be out of place to say that judgment dated 08.06.2012 concerning the electoral reforms as passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the Constitution Petition No.87/2011 titled Workers Party and others versus Federation of Pakistan and others reported on the website of http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/web/page.asp?id=1083 has neither been implemented by the Election Commission of Pakistan nor the Government of Pakistan so far. The present learned Election Commission of Pakistan may kindly also look into this matter as to why neither the Election Commission of Pakistan nor the Government of Pakistan has implemented the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan yet concerning the electoral reforms as passed in the Worker Party case in the General Elections of 2013 and in subsequent Bye-Elections which reads as under:-
“81. In pursuance of the above, we hold and direct as under: –
(a) All the election laws be strictly implemented by the Election Commission in the discharge of its constitutional mandate under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, Representation of the People Act and other laws/rules;
(b) The Election Commission is empowered to check not just illegal actions relating to the election (violating the limits set for campaign finance, etc.) or corrupt practices (bribery, etc.), but is also empowered to review all election activities, including Jalsas, Jaloos, use of loudspeakers, etc. for their effects on the standards of ‘fairness, justness and honesty’ that elections are expected to meet. The Election Commission is also empowered to take preemptive measures to ensure that the spirit of democracy and ‘fairness, justness and honesty’ of elections is fully observed. The Election Commission is, therefore, directed to take all necessary steps to ensure the same;
(c) The Election Commission must undertake monitoring of the election expenses from the day the holding of election is notified. A candidate must account for all the expenses immediately after the election is over. The Declaration Form should include the following further declarations: –
(i) To meet election expenses, I have opened account No.______________ with _____________________ [name & branch of a scheduled bank] and deposited therein the amount permissible for election expenses.
(ii) All election expenditure shall be made out of the money already deposited in the aforesaid account.
(iii) No transaction towards the election expenses shall be made through an account other than the above account. [Copy of bank statement will be annexed with the Return.];
(d) The Election Commission must hold meetings with the candidates and apprise them of the relevant laws/rules, receive from them statements of expenses on weekly basis by engaging election staff and carry out inspection at random at different places. All transactions relating to election expenses should be entered into with GST registered firms/persons;
(e) To facilitate the voters, the number of polling stations may be increased appropriately throughout the country so that the polling stations are not at a distance of more than two kilometers from the place of residence of voters. In this behalf, the Election Commission may take into consideration the suggestions made at the bar, including the provision of official transport to the voters, but in no case, shall it allow the candidates to hire/use private transport on election day. Where arrangement for transport is made by the Election Commission, the routes of such transport should be widely advertised in the print and electronic media for information of the general public;
(f) As regards the handing over of Perchis to the voters at election camps, the Election Commission must take steps to provide the requisite information to the voters by other means as discussed hereinabove. Therefore, to ensure strict compliance with section 84 of Representation of the People Act, 1976 in letter and in spirit, establishing of camps near the polling stations should be banned forthwith. The Election Commission may manage to dispatch extracts from the voters’ list in the name of one or more persons living in a house at least 7 days before the polling day by post, or to save the postage by annexing such extracts with any of the utility bill;
(g) Only such election campaign activities ought to be permitted, which on the one hand fulfill the purpose of the election campaign, and on the other are within the reach of the common man. The petitioners have recommended certain activities, namely, door-to-door campaign, manifesto, canvassing on State television and radio, and candidate – voter interaction/debates, etc. ROPA and other relevant laws have held these activities to be permissible in the eyes of the law. These, therefore, ought to be encouraged by Election Commission on the basis of their merit;
(h) To ensure fair and transparent election, if need be, instead of involving the employees of the Provincial Governments, the employees of Federal Government/autonomous organizations/agencies, including the armed and paraarmed forces may be instructed to carry out stipulated functions at the polling stations;
(i) As regards the introduction of computerized balloting, it is informed that the Election Commission has already undertaken work on it. We, therefore, expect that effective steps will be taken in this regard at an appropriate time;
(j) To achieve the goal of fair, free, honest and just elections, accurate preparation/revision of electoral roll is immediately required to be undertaken by the Election Commission through credible and independent agencies.
Accordingly, we direct the Election Commission to undertake door-to-door checking of voters’ lists and complete the process of updating/revision of the electoral rolls by engaging Army and the Frontier Corps to ensure transparency, if need be;
(k) Corrective measures are required to be taken by the Election Commission to ensure that the election disputes are resolved at the earliest. The Election Commission may also consider establishing a panel of lawyers well conversant with election laws at the State expense to provide free legal services to marginalized segments of society;
(l) The Election Commission is obliged to ensure that all elections witness a substantial participation of the electorate, therefore, all necessary steps must be taken to make voting compulsory in Pakistan as early as possible;
(m) In the ‘First Past the Post’ system of election, the winning candidate does not necessarily receive an absolute majority of all votes cast, therefore, such a candidate does not command the majority of the votes polled. As such, the system of ‘First Past the Post’ violates the principle of majority. The Election Commission may explore ways and means to introduce appropriate system of election including ‘run off election’ and ‘none of the above options’, in the light of the discussion made hereinabove, to ensure true representation of the people and rule of the majority; and
(n) The Election Commission is empowered to frame rules to ensure that the elections are conducted justly, fairly, honestly and in accordance with law and that corrupt practices are guarded against. There is unanimity of views on various suggested courses of action. Therefore, we direct the Election Commission to frame rules and issue instructions to provide legal sanction to these measures and implement the same to achieve the ultimate objective of fair, free, just and honest election.”
Drawn up and filed by:
Dated: 25th October, 2017.
(Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik),
Communist Party of Pakistan,
Communist Party Secretariat,
1426-Fateh Jang Chowk,