Foreign Affairs, Terrorism, CPEC Consume Eight Percent of 14th NA Agenda

Foreign Affairs, Terrorism, CPEC Consume Eight Percent of 14th NA Agenda

ISLAMABAD, Jun 27, 2018: The 14th National Assembly dedicated almost eight percent of its agenda to matters concerning foreign affairs, anti-terrorism and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during its five-year term that concluded on May 31, 2018. The House preferred the government-sponsored and supplementary business items over private lawmakers’ interventions over these issues, says a press release issued by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on Wednesday.

Pakistan witnessed crucial foreign relation challenges during last five years, including increasing tensions with neighbouring India and Afghanistan, various conflicts in the Muslim world, and strained ties with the United States (US) amidst warming relationship with Russia and the development of CPEC. Despite the urgency warranted by many of these issues, the government avoided proactive deliberation on foreign affairs in the National Assembly. In fact, some efforts by private lawmakers, particularly by opposition members, to take up these issues in the House were stalled. Read More >>

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FAFEN Releases Fourth Update on Election and Political Environment Before GE-2018

FAFEN Releases Fourth Update on Election and Political Environment Before GE-2018

ISLAMABAD, June 12, 2018: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)’s General Elections (GE) 2018 Update-IV is based on observation data gathered systematically from 130 districts by as many trained and non-partisan District Coordinators (DCs) during the latter half of May 2018 (May 16 to May 31). The information was collected through 731 interviews with representatives of 44 political parties and groups. Update-IV documents district-level political alignments and realignments prior to GE 2018, and includes key observation findings regarding 325 political gatherings held across the country.

Moreover, based on data gathered through methodical monitoring of 11 national and regional newspapers, the Update includes information on reported incidents of political and electoral violence and politically-motivated advertisements in the press. Additional observation findings on postings and transfers ahead of GE 2018 and allotment of election symbols are also included. Read More >>

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14th National Assembly Ends with Legislative Distinction

ISLAMABAD, June 01, 2018: Despite political controversies in the past five years, the 14th National Assembly took up an unprecedented legislative agenda by approving 205 bills as compared to 134 and 51 bills passed by 13th and 12th National Assemblies during their five-year terms, respectively.

The House approved several important pieces of legislation, including five constitutional amendments during 56 sessions comprising 495 sittings, that provided for setting up military courts for an initial period of two years and their subsequent extension for another two years, reallocation of National Assembly seats among federating units on the basis of fresh census results, electoral reforms and the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Elections Act, 2017, which reformed and consolidated the erstwhile eight separate election laws of the country, also saw light of the day during the term of the 14th Assembly. Read More >>

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General Election 2018 Update on Citizens’ Observation of Electoral and Political Environment

General Election 2018 Update on Citizens’ Observation of Electoral and Political Environment

ISLAMABAD, May 31, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) releases its third update on the electoral and political environment based on the information gathered systematically in 130 districts of the country by as many trained and non-partisan District Coordinators (DCs) during the first fortnight of May 2018 through 296 interviews with representatives of 32 political parties and groups on the general political environment. Moreover, DCs also conducted 87 interviews with representatives of 14 political parties on the delimitation process. In addition to documenting district-level political alignments and realignments prior to the GE 2018, the Update also includes the findings of observation of 400 political gatherings across the country.
The General Elections 2018 Update-III also comprises data gathered through systematic monitoring of 86 editions of 25 local, regional and national newspapers (14 Urdu, 10 English, and one Sindhi newspaper) in order to report the incidents of political and electoral violence, as well as to document the politically-motivated advertisements in the press. Read More >>

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FAFEN Releases Second Update on General Election 2018

ISLAMABAD, May 20, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) released its Second Update on General Election 2018 on Sunday comprising observation of political and electoral preparations in the month of April. The purpose of observation is to contribute to the evolution of an election process that is free, fair, transparent and accountable, in accordance with the requirements laid out in the Elections Act, 2017.

FAFEN initiated its assessment of the political environment and implementation of election-related laws, rules and regulations in January 2018 as part of its multi-phase observation of General Election (GE) 2018. The purpose of the observation is to contribute to the evolution of an election process that is free, fair, transparent and accountable, in accordance with the requirements laid out in the Elections Act, 2017. Based on its observation, FAFEN produces periodic updates, information briefs and reports in an effort to provide objective, unbiased and evidence-based information about the quality of electoral and political processes to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties, media, civil society organizations and citizens. Read More >>

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Senate Passes 16 Bills, Makes 156 Recommendations on Finance Bill

ISLAMABAD, May 18, 2018: The Senate passed 14 government bills and two private members’ bills during the 277th session that continued between April 27, 2018 and May 15, 2018.

The session comprising 12 sittings also adopted three resolutions and took up four Calling Attention Notices (CANs). According to FAFEN’s headcounts, on an average, 18 (17%) lawmakers were present at the commencement and 17 (16%) at the adjournment of each sitting. Senate’s official attendance records show an average 64 of (62%) members present during each sitting.

On average, the sittings started four minutes behind the scheduled time while the average duration of each sitting remained two hours and 47 minutes. The Chairman attended ten out of 12 sittings and presided over 79% of the proceedings while the Deputy Chairman attended only two sitting and presided over 21% of the proceedings.

The Leader of the House attended 57% proceedings during 11 sittings while the Leader of the Opposition attended 60% of the proceedings during 10 sittings. The Prime Minister did not attend any of the sittings. According to the Senate’s Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, 2012, the Prime Minister is required to attend the Prime Minister’s Zero Hour (last half hour of each sitting) at least once in every week when the Senate is in session. Read More >>

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Labour Laws Must Address Women Workers’ Issues

ISLAMABAD, May 13, 2018: The Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies need to improve the quality of labour legislation to make it consistent, applicable and in accordance with the law of the country and best international practices, besides ensuring that special measures to address women workers’ issues are incorporated in them, observes Women Action for Better Workplaces (WAction), a project implemented by Trust for Democratic Education & Accountability (TDEA), in a statement here on Sunday.

A qualitative analysis of the federal and provincial labour laws passed by the incumbent legislative assemblies was conducted by WAction that states that Pakistan has inherited and introduced a number of labour laws. As many as 130 federal and provincial laws partially cover the labour issues, while more than 80 laws are such which exclusively deal with labour related matters. The analysis further reveals that some parts of the labour laws have become obsolete and infructuous, warranting repeal, while some others need to evolve to keep pace with the changing realities of the modern day workforce. With little or no pressure from any quarters, efforts on part of the legislative assemblies to upgrade or consolidate this set of fragmented laws are virtually non-existent.

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Lawmakers Disinterest Marks Punjab Assembly’s 35th session

ISLAMABAD, May 10, 2018: Lack of interest of provincial lawmakers in proceedings marked the 35th session of Punjab Assembly, which passed one private member’s as well as two government bills and witnessed the introduction of nine legislative proposals.

The session, comprising seven sittings, started on April 26, 2018 and concluded on May 7, 2018. The cumulative duration of the sittings was 11 hours and 27 minutes as each sitting, on average, witnessed a delay of an hour and 46 minutes from its starting time and continued for an hour and 38 minutes.

The lack of quorum persisted during the first five sittings and it was pointed out for seven times. Four sittings had to be adjourned due to the presence of less than 25% (93) lawmakers in the House while the required number was found complete twice after the customary bells were rung for five minutes. One instance was such when the quorum was found complete after suspension of the proceedings for 40 minutes.Read More >>

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FAFEN Releases First Pre-Election Long-Term Election Observation Report

ISLAMABAD, April 24, 2018: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has started pre-election long-term observation activities in 130 districts across Pakistan to assess the political environment and implementation of election-related laws, rules and regulations as part of its multi-phase observation of General Election (GE) 2018.

In its General Election 2018 Update-I being released today, FAFEN has compiled the observations recorded by its Long Term Observers (LTOs) between January 2018 to March 2018 to provide objective, unbiased and evidence-based information about the quality of electoral and political processes to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties, media, civil society organizations and citizens.

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Equality of Vote Compromised in 92 PA Constituencies

Equality of Vote Compromised in 92 PA Constituencies

ISLAMABAD, April 10, 2018: Examination of the recently issued preliminary report of draft proposals for the delimitation of constituencies reveals that adherence to the principle of equality of vote – a key principle for ensuring equitable political representation – is compromised in 92 proposed Provincial Assembly (PA) constituencies, including 26 in Balochistan, 22 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 21 in Punjab, and 23 in Sindh. These proposed constituencies deviate by more than 10% from their respective provincial average population per PA constituency; exceeding the ordinarily permissible variation range of 10% established by the law.

Of 92 PA constituencies, 72 constituencies have been suggested with a variation rate between 11% and 20%, nine constituencies have variation between 21% and 30%, seven constituencies have a higher degree of variation between 31% and 40%, three constituencies have a variation between 41% and 50% while in case of one Balochistan PA constituency, this variation is exorbitantly higher than 50%.

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