ISLAMABAD: As the general elections draw closer, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced its commitment to completing the printing of ballot papers by February 2.
Simultaneously, the electoral body has initiated the distribution of ballot papers across all provinces with the assistance of security personnel.
According to the spokesperson of the ECP, preparations for the polls on February 8 are in full swing. Currently, three government press institutes are engaged in printing ballot papers, and the process is progressing “satisfactorily.”
“The printing, initiated on January 16 following the allocation of election symbols by returning officers (ROs), is set to conclude in the next four days, specifically by February 2,” stated the ECP official.
He further informed that returning officers (ROs) and district administrations, with the support of security agencies, have commenced the delivery of ballot papers through both road and air.
Additionally, the spokesperson highlighted the availability of the 8300 SMS service to the public from January 29, 2024. Voters can use this service by sending their identity card number to 8300 to obtain information about their polling station and other relevant details. All voters are urged to obtain these details promptly to avoid any inconvenience in locating polling stations.
The commission has successfully completed the training of 970,000 polling staff out of the required 976,000, constituting 96% of the total necessary staff. The training for the remaining 6,000 polling personnel will be finished in the next four days.
Addressing concerns about an alleged fatwa issued by a group of Ulema in Kohistan banning women from campaigning, the ECP sought a report from the district monitoring officer, Kohistan Upper.
The officer clarified that the news was untrue and stemmed from a misconception. However, the ECP emphasized that any prevention of women from campaigning or voting in the upcoming elections would result in action under Section 9 of the Elections Act, potentially leading to the nullification of the electoral process in that constituency.
Furthermore, the ECP has taken notice of clashes and firing incidents between two political parties in Karachi over flag hoisting and the snatching of postal ballots in the Swabi district.