PESHAWAR: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Additional Secretary Zafar Iqbal on Wednesday said that in the next general elections, the voters will cast their votes in the constituency of which he/she has given the address on CNIC.
Addressing a media workshop here, he said that ECP is introducing electoral reforms while keeping in view the past experiences, adding that except the government officers, all the voters would cast their votes in their own constituency. He said that the ECP remained fully engaged in the meeting of the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms and floated various suggestions to ensure transparent elections in future.
The ECP official further stated that after thorough deliberations, the Elections Act, 2017 was approved and now the ECP would draft rules under this act.
Zafar Iqbal informed that under the act, all the officials to be deployed on election duty would take an oath to ensure transparent casting of votes, adding that the provincial election commissioners would take oath from all district returning officers, while district election officers would take oath from returning officers.
He also said that under the act, a formula has been drafted for printing of ballot papers and the returning officers would seal the record of tempering in the election in an evidence bag to keep it preserved for future investigation.
On the occasion, Director General Muhammad Yousaf Khattak briefed the media about the new Election Act, 2017 and said that if the vote count remains less than 10 per cent in any constituency, ECP would declare the election results null and void for that constituency. He further said that the data of voter lists was now shifted to ECP from NADRA, and as per the data, the overall vote bank would be over 100 million.
He also said that any candidate or his agent can obtain a copy of voters’ list from ECP through a formal application. He added that after May 1, 2018, the previous voters’ list would stand cancelled and the sitting assemblies would complete the terms by June 1, 2018.
MIS Director Haider Ali said that use of technology in Peshawar NA-4 by-poll proved very helpful in finalising the election results.
Gender Affairs Additional Director General Nighat Siddiqui told the participants of workshop that ECP was taking steps to ensure participation of all segments of society, adding that district voters’
education committees had been activated at the district level.
She hoped an increase in the turnout of voters in the next general elections and said that as per the ECP data, women voting percentage was less in 79 constituencies of the country, where the commission has decided to arrange mobile vans with the collaboration of NADRA for registration of votes of women.
The ECP Spokesman Haroon Shinwari said that ECP is fully ready for general elections at any time. He added that since the population census had been completed, therefore delimitations have become imperative now.
To a question, the additional secretary told media that the estimated cost for the conduct of elections had also increased. He added that the ECP is going to celebrate National Voters Day on December 7, where awareness and sensitisation would be created among media, civil society and the general public.