Pakistan’s Elections Act 2017 is the most extensive effort to date to reform the country’s electoral process. Successful implementation of the law requires secondary legislation, the review of administrative practices and guidelines, and the training of election officials. To this end, the new law mandates the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to develop comprehensive administrative regulations and solicit public inputs – an unprecedented move in Pakistan’s electoral history, which has significant potential to strengthen electoral procedures. The ECP took an important step in fulfilling its new responsibilities by publishing draft election rules for public comment in October 2017. The Election Rules 2017, since approved, substantially address several aspects of the electoral process, such as voter registration process and management of electoral rolls, postal voting, and delimitation.
There are, however, a few areas where the rules deserve a second look. Furthermore, some electoral practice not regulated by the rules could be reviewed and formalised prior to the next elections. From Legislation to Action: Next Steps for Implementing Electoral Reforms in Pakistan puts forth proposals on the operationalisation of the 2017 legislative electoral reforms and areas requiring complementary regulations. Proposals are made within the framework of international election standards, primarily international treaties to which Pakistan has subscribed.