ISLAMABAD: Following is the full text of Charter of Demand (COD), which according to political experts could have achieved far-reaching and effective results of holding of fair, free and transparent elections if both the alliances had looked for a middle way to sorted out their differences.
The Committee for the preparation of the Charter of Demands was constituted on 3rd December, 2007 at a joint meeting of the ARD and the APDM in the presence of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at Islamabad.
The said Committee consists of the following members;
Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Senator Abdul Rahim Mandokhail, Senator Prof. Khurshid Ahmed for the APDM. Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Senator Dr. Safdar Ali Abbasi, Mr. Naveed Malik and Abdul Qadir Khamoosh for the ARD.
On 4th December, 2007 Mr. Hasil Bezenjo informed Senator Mian Raza Rabbani that he will be attending the meetings representing Ponum.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee are;
Draft Charter of Demands for free and fair elections and to suggest a cut-off date for its implementation. To suggest an organizational structure for the Joint Opposition in struggle.
To suggest a structure of Government to hold free and fair election in a post Musharraf scenario.
The Committee met on the 4th, 5th and 6th of December, 2007 at the Office of the Leader of Opposition, Senator of Pakistan at Islamabad. With reference to the Terms of Reference, stated herein above, the documents are attached and marked Annexures “A”, “B” and “C” respectively.
The Committee has referred two points for the consideration of the leadership of the two Alliances, namely Annexure “D”. The Final decision taken will be incorporated in Annexure “A”.
Senator Prof. Khurshid Ahmad has expressed his reservation with reference to “Joint Electorate” state at point No. 2 in Annexure “A”.
Signed in Islamabad on 6th December, 2007 by the Members of the Committee.
1. Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar 1. Senator Mian Raza Rabbani
2. Mr. Ahsan Iqbal 2. Senator Dr. Safdar Abbasi
3. Senator Prof. Khurshid Ahmed 3. Mr. Naveed Malik
4. Senator Abdul Rahim Mandokhel 4. Qazi Abdul Qadeer Khamosh
5. Mir Hasil Bezenjo
CHARTER OF DEMANDS
The Joint Opposition Alliance demands a transition to democracy through the holding of free, fair, transparent and impartial elections.
For such elections to be considered free it calls for the implementation of the Charter of Demands stated herein as under. If the benchmarks for fair elections and orderly transfer of power to the electe4d representatives of the people are not met, the Joint Opposition Alliance will call for strikes, protest, public meeting, rallies and can exercises the option of boycott. This movement will be for the restoration of the 1973 Constitution, stated herein as under, to be held by a Government of national consensus constituted in a APC, to hold elections.
FRAMEWORK FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
1. The Declaration of Emergency dated the 3rd November, 2007 issued by the Chief of Army Staff be withdrawn and the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) be reworked.
2. The 1973 Constitution as on 12th October 1999 before the military coup shall be restored with the provisions of joint elections, minorities, women’s reserved seats on closed party list in the Parliament, the lowering of the voting age, and the increase in seats in Parliament; the Legal Framework Order, 2000 and the Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment shall be repealed.
BENCHMARKS FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
1. Impartial interim Governments of national consensus should be formed at the Federal and Provincial levels and neutral Provincial Governors be appointed in consultation with all political parties to supervise free, fair and transparent election in accordance with the Constitution.
2. The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan should be done in consultation with all the major stakeholders.
3. The Nazims and the Local Governments should be suspended immediately till the formation of Federal and Provincial Governments.
4. All Improvised poling stations should be de-notified with immediate effect. Primary/secondary/high schools, BHUs/RHUs in closest a proximity to the population should be designated as polling stations in a transparent manner.
5. The bulk transfers of judicial, administrative and police officers made in one month prior to the dissolution of the Federal/Provincial Governments and those made till date should be reversed to status quo ante immediately. Neutral Registrars should be appointed in the High Courts.
6. The Election Commission should ensure the appointments with immediate effect of impartial and non-controversial officers to the following amongst other positions;
Interior Secretary, DGIB, Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries, I.G Police, D.I.Gs, DPOs and DCOs.
7. The ban on elections and print media should be lifted with immediate effect. All ordinances meant to gag the media should be withdrawn.
8. Al Judges, political workers, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists and civil society members should be released immediately and all cases against them withdrawn.
9. There should be an effective mechanism to check ballot stuffing, tampering, violence on election day, eviction of polling agents from poling stations, delays it results announcement and result not announced and mechanism for result to be announced at the District level, should be devised in consultation with the political parties.
10. Preliminary count should be conducted at the polling station and subsequently at the District level by the RO, reducing chances of counting fraud. Clear criteria for recounts should be established, allowing for no dispute.
11. Arrangements be made for independent and unhindered monitoring of elections by national and international observers and media.
PROPOSED ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF JOINT OPPOSITION ALLIANCE
The Committee proposes the following organizational structure of the Joint Opposition Alliance at the Federal, Provincial and District levels:
1. Federal Level: – That there be a Steering Committee comprising of the Heads of the Political Parties belonging to the ARD and APDM. It is further proposed that there may be a Convener and CO-Convener of the Steering Committee to be taken respectively from the said two Alliance. It is further proposed that the Steering Committee may constitute and Action Committee from amongst its members or nominees.
2. Provincial Level:- It is proposed that an Organizing Committee comprising of 10 to 15 members be constituted at the provincial level keeping in mind the relative strength of each component Party in the said province. The criteria for the convene-ship of the said Committee would be the relative strength of one of the component Parties.
3. District Level: – It is proposed that at the District level there be an Organizing Committee consisting of 10 to 15 members. The said members from amongst themselves will nominate convener.
The Joint Opposition Alliance declares that if the demands included in the COD are not met, it shall launch, public movement/agitation to replace the present regime with an interim set up comprising of Joint-Opposition Alliance’s nominees to manage the transition to genuine democracy through fair and free elections within sixty days.
POINTS FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE LEADERSHIP OF THE APDM AND ARD
The Committee is forwarding the following two points for the consideration and final decision of the leadership of the two Alliances. Points are herein as under/
1. The APDM position with regard to the judicial crises is stated as under;
“All Supreme Court, High Court Judges who were removed on 3rd November, 2007 should be restored.”
2. The ARD position with regard to the judicial crises is as under;
“The courage and principled opposition taken by the Judges of the Supreme Judiciary who did not take oath under the PCO is recognized. The Declaration of Emergency dated 3rd November, 2007 issued by the Chief of Army Staff be withdrawn. The Provisional Constitution Order be revoked and the independence of the Judiciary restored’.
CUT-OFF DATE FOR BOYCOTT
The APDM proposes that;
“The APDM declares that if these demands are not met by December 14/26, 2007, APDM in cooperation with all other democratic forces would be forced to boycott the elections and launch a national movement for the restoration of genuine democracy through holding of truly free, fair and transparent elections.”
The ARD propose that;
“The ARD is committed to a movement for a sovereign Parliament and will resist the attempts of the regime to rig the January, 8th 2008 elections. In case the regime/Elections Commission fails to fulfil the Charter of Demands as agreed between ARD and APDM it reserves the right to resist it through a popular movement or boycott.’-SANA