A Ministerial delegation from Somalia headed by Interior Minister Ahmed Moallim Fiqi visited the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The delegation was given a detailed briefing by the ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal Husain and his team.
It was explained that the constitutional mandate of the ECP was to hold elections for the federal and provincial parliaments, and also the local governments.
The mechanisms, finances, and equalization and inclusion policies were also shared with the delegates. Somali delegation took great interest in the election mechanism, and how women and other disadvantaged groups are facilitated and what were the challenges.
They were told that NADRA civil registry plays a vital role and special drives are being conducted to register people under civil registry and this helps people be included in the one of the most trusted electoral rolls.
“Election Rules 2017 give clear mandate to recall an election if women voters are less than 10%, and ECP enforces it if needed,” added Ms Nighat Iqbal while responding to the query.
Somali delegates asked about the dispute resolution mechanisms in the election system. They were told that judiciary plays a central role and election tribunals are established to address issues related to any malpractice or dispute.
In addition, Election Commission tries to keep the system as transparent and as independent as possible to avoid situations of conflict. In the end, the Special Secretary Election Commission presented the shield of honor to the leader of visiting study tour Mr. Ahmed Moallim Fiqi.
Mohsin Dawar, independent MNA from North Waziristan, talked about colonial apparatus in the FATA area and how it was not taken as normal province or a federating unit. He mentioned that this area has become a laboratory for many activities including terrorism.
He talked about the issues associated with majoritarian representation models, and how those systems can be and must be addressed. “The Senate of Pakistan was established to bring in parity in representation, but it was given a more ceremonial status with less powers to influence policies in the country”, he added.
Responding to the questions about terrorism which is menacing both Pakistan and Somalia, Mr Dawar said that techniques and reasons of terrorism may be different but objectives appear to be quite similar.
So, there is a need to develop coherent strategy to address these questions.
He emphasized the importance of “trust” between the state and society and absence of which gives space to the terrorist operate and build popular support.
Mr. Dawar informed the participants about special briefing by the foreign office, and he has requested the foreign office to organize more such briefings for the parliamentarians and the foreign minister also be there.
He laid emphasis on the fact that Pakistan takes Africa region seriously and wants to increase bilateral and regional trade.
Responding to the requests for VISA facilitation and other related matters raised by Shirwa Abdullahi Ibrahim, Charge De Affaires Somali Embassy, Mr. Dawar assured that he will raise the issues with relevant offices and have a formal meeting with the Somali counterparts.