Charter of Demand

Roadmap to Democracy

Observing a Decade for Democracy in Pakistan

Centre for Human Rights Education- Pakistan and its member organization dedicate the 2nd decade (2011-2020) of 21st Century for the promotion of democracy in Pakistan based on its basic principles of democracy equality, non-discrimination, rule of law, free and fair electoral system and process and respect and tolerance for religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.

Member organizations reiterate loudly their firm belief on democracy and believe that democracy is essential for a prosperous and human rights friendly Pakistan.  It has the power and ability to deal with the crises created by the troublesome legacies of the military regimes including ethnic fragmentation, alienation of the smaller provinces, and concentration of wealth and privilege among the class co-opted by the dictators.

On January 1, 2011, the first day of the new decade CHRE and its member organizations present the following recommendations for the promotion of democracy in Pakistan and pledge to continue their efforts for democratizing the Pakistani state and the society:   

The state institutions should:

  • Should follow the principles of democracy to ensure that the benefits of democracy reach to the citizens of Pakistan without any discrimination. Moreover the state institutions should act according to the constitution of Pakistan and should respect each other’s constitutional role and responsibilities will of citizens, independence of judiciary and the freedom of the press to ensure transparent and accountable governance.
  • Should be allowed to function according to the accepted norms of parliamentary democracy.  A disregard for the constitution, unnecessary amendments and its abeyance should be stopped.
  • The political process should be free of any internal, external, military or religious interference and that the will and participation of people should be the basis of a democratic government.
  • Should respect their commitments towards international human rights mechanisms and standards including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and urgent measures should be taken to ensure that the standards and norms are fully implemented.  

Political Parties:

  • Democratization of the Pakistani state and the society is directly related to democratic culture within the political parties and therefore Intra party elections should be held as per the constitution of the party. Therefore eradication of authoritarian and non democratic clauses from constitution is mandatory for sustainable democracy. Moreover inheritance in the political parties should be discouraged and decisions within the party should be made in accordance with democratic norms and values.
  •  Election Commission of Pakistan should monitor the intra party elections and for which the respective party should pay a reasonable fee for the services of Election Commission of Pakistan.
  • The political parties should pledge to acknowledge the multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and linguistic status of the Pakistani Society.
  • Every political party should have its own independent and impartial anti-corruption unit to discourage corruption and to ensure that the corrupt elements should not reach the parliament. 
  • Political parties should encourage study circles and newsletters for the formation of their party workers and with other social groups.
  • Political parties should launch awareness campaign on regular basis to educate citizens on the principles of democracy and civic rights. Transparency, good governance, freedom of information, electoral reforms, participation of women and minorities in politics, decentralization must be brought into debate to get a positive solution.
  • Political parties should follow the party constitution strictly, which is submitted to Election Commission of Pakistan for registration of the party.
  • The political parties should bring female and candidates of the religious minorities on general seats.
  • Transparent records should be maintained and monitored regarding the resources and their utilization. Moreover every party should submit accurate statement of accounts to the Election Commission of Pakistan indicating its income and expenditure, sources of funds, assets and liabilities. The statement should contain all the transactions (parties internal or external).  
  • To participate in any General or Local Bodies Election every political party should complete the liabilities regarding internal elections and submission of statement of accounts and assets to Election Commission of Pakistan.

Pre-poll initiatives:

  • Office of the Presidency, the Caretaker government, the Election Commission and other state institutions should strictly play non-partisan role and state apparatus should not be used by any political party.  
  • The Chief Election Commissioner should be impartial and a person of good reputation and should be appointed in consultation with the opposition leader and other stakeholders.
  • The Election Commission should be independent regarding financial resources to ensure the flawless and independent working. 
  • Staff of Election Commission of Pakistan should be gender balanced to ensure equal opportunities for female candidates and voters.
  • The government must ensure that the CNICs should be issued to all the eligible voters. The Election Commission in collaboration with NADRA should institute a system whereby voter registration is carried out at the time of the issuance of CNICs by NADRA.   
  • The electoral rolls should be updated to make them error free and should not be separated on the basis of religion to enhance the inter-religious harmony among the citizens.
  • The computerized lists should be made available at Election Commission of Pakistan’s website at least 6 months prior to any election or should be made available in CDs on a nominal fee.
  • The Commission should initiate advocacy campaigns to make the voters realize the significance of their vote and of participation in the electoral process. These campaigns must be conducted on priority basis in constituencies with low number of candidates, or feudalist dominance.
  • Monitoring of Election Campaign should ensure equality to all candidates regarding check and balance in opportunities and limitations.
  • Election Commission of Pakistan should make concrete policies to deal with the hurdles to fair and free electoral process such as buying and selling of votes, illegal ban on women’s vote casting, use of terror or violence, religious, gender and ethnic biases and meddling of the state institutions.
  • Constituencies must not be altered after submission of the electoral documents by the candidates.
  • Candidates once found guilty of fake submission of electoral documents should be banned forever.

Polling day initiatives:

  • Election Commission of Pakistan should ensure an easy access to voters for the registration of complaints of any discrepancies found at polling stations and mechanisms for immediate and effective action should be developed. The complaint procedure should be publicized at large to maximize the benefits.
  • The quantity of the Polling booths should be increased in the constituencies with higher number of voters. Adequate Polling Staff should also be appointed.   
  • Polling agents should be given proper training and they should be monitored to ensure that they do not pressurize the voters.
  • Security measures should be made much more effective to ensure maintenance of law and order. The restrictions on bearing and exhibiting of the arms should be enforced strictly.
  • Those found guilty of making fake CNIC or casting of fake votes should be punished and the related candidate should be blacklisted.

Citizens Should:

  • The fellow citizens should be very watchful towards the un-democratic forces and should openly denounce all kinds of un-constitutional ways and means effecting democracy.
  • Citizen should reject the politics based on religious, gender and ethnic biases.
  • Citizens should use their vote on merit and not on family, religious, ethnic or other affiliation/ influence.
  • Maintain any of their change of permanent address with NADRA as this is the main reason of misuse of their votes.
  • Must report any discrepancies found at the polling station at least regarding their own vote.
  • Fake voters should be identified as the responsibility of being a citizen.
  • New leadership should come forward with a motive to build a better Pakistan. Everyone is responsible to bring a change in Pakistan.

Elected Representatives and the government:

  • Elected governments should deliver services, maintain law and order, promote economic progress and social stability. The provision of fundamental rights, political equality and individual freedoms should be ensured.
  • Floor crossing must be restricted at maximum, elected parliamentarians committing floor crossing should be banned / blacklisted.
  • Elected representatives should be given training regarding their duties and rights.
  • Participation of the elected in the meetings should be made certain; a number of absence should result in disqualification vice versa.
  • Appending Ministries for the sake of political bribe should be discouraged.
  • Transparent records should be maintained and monitored regarding the resources and their utilization to which easy access of media should be made certain.