The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced a public holiday on February 8, the day general elections are scheduled to be held in the country.
A notification issued by the electoral watchdog stated that all workplaces including offices and educational institutes – both public and private – will remain closed on the day.
Read: Feb 8 is ballot day
The election body stated that the decision had been taken to ensure a positive voter turnout on polling day, with voting scheduled to commence at 8am and end at 6pm.
Earlier, the ECP released the polling blueprint for the polls slated for February 8.
In a detailed breakdown, the ECP announced the establishment of 90,675 polling stations nationwide. Among these, 522 are situated in non-permanent structures.
Of the total polling stations, 25,320 are designated for male voters, 23,950 for female voters, and 41,405 as joint polling stations.
The polling scheme delineates that the province of Punjab boasts 50,944 polling stations, with 35 of them strategically located in non-permanent buildings.
Out of these stations, 14,556 will be for men, and 14,036 for women, while 22,352 polling stations would be for both men and women.
Similarly, Sindh has 14,556 polling stations, including 344 housed in non-permanent structures while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will house a total of 15,697 polling stations have been established, with 73 housed in non-permanent buildings.
Balochistan, with 5,028 polling stations, has 70 constructed in non-permanent buildings.
The ECP revealed that out of the 276,402 polling booths erected nationwide, 147,560 are designated for male voters, and 127,842 for female voters. This strategic distribution aims to facilitate a smooth and accessible voting experience for citizens across the country.
Breaking down the booth statistics, Punjab leads with 149,434 booths, followed by Sindh with 65,005 booths, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 47,081 booths, and Balochistan with 14,882 booths.
The ECP has introduced a WhatsApp helpline, aiming to offer citizens a platform to voice their poll-related grievances.
With over 128 million voters set to cast their ballots on February 8, and a record number of candidates vying for positions, the electoral body’s move aims to address the need for a streamlined communication channel during this crucial electoral period.
The newly launched WhatsApp helpline, accessible through the number 0327 5050610, particularly caters to individuals with speech and hearing impairments, allowing them to submit their complaints through video messages.
The initiative is part of the Election Monitoring and Complaint Centre (EMCC) set up by the ECP to effectively manage and address voters’ concerns in the lead-up to the general elections. The move is expected to significantly enhance accessibility and responsiveness in handling complaints.
In addition to WhatsApp, the ECP has provided alternative channels for lodging complaints. Citizens can submit their grievances via email at email@example.com or through the dedicated helpline at 111-327-000, ensuring multiple avenues for communication.
To streamline the complaint registration process, control rooms have been established at the ECP secretariat, as well as at provincial, divisional, and district-level offices. These control rooms will play a crucial role in handling the registration and resolution of complaints from concerned citizens.