The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has prepared the polling scheme for the upcoming general elections with the plan to establish a total of 91,809 polling stations across 859 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies.
Of these, 32,000 have been designated as sensitive, while 17,000 are marked as highly sensitive.
The details were revealed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs chaired by Senator Taj Haider as the upper house panel urged the electoral body to conduct the polls within the constitutional framework of 90 days.
During the meeting, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan briefed the committee on the arrangements and preparations being made for the elections, sharing that approximately 1 million polling staff members will be required for the smooth conduct of the general elections.
The committee also inquired about measures being taken to ensure the stability and accuracy of election results.
The secretary explained that the ECP has developed electronic devices with customised software that will allow for the secure transmission of Form-45 snapshots to Returning Officers.
The software is also equipped to track the time and location of these snapshots to ensure the legitimacy of the election process.
Secretary Khan added that preliminary results will be published on September 27. However, it will take approximately two months to address and resolve any representations.
Elections within 90 daysThe committee reminded the electoral watchdog of its constitutional obligation to conduct the general elections within 90 days following the dissolution of the National Assembly and urged the ECP to promptly announce the election schedule to eliminate any uncertainties regarding the timing of the elections.
Senator Kamran Murtaza of JUI-F stated that the ECP had been requested to reduce the time for filing representations from one month to seven days. In response, the secretary ECP suggested that it was the committee’s responsibility to propose any necessary amendments to existing laws.
In response to the committee chairman’s concerns about the gender gap among the voters, he highlighted ECP’s efforts to reduce the gender gap in registered voters, saying that Balochistan had seen significant progress in this regard.
The session also touched upon the allocation of funds for development projects with Senator Taj Haider emphasising the need for funds to be allocated to approved schemes.
Responding to this, the ECP Secretary assured that the commission did not have any “favourite candidate or party” and that it will ensure a level playing field for all participants.
During a briefing to the committee, he asserted that there “would not be any rigging in the upcoming general elections” as the arrangements the ECP was making would have “no chance of rigging”.
He told the committee, “Provincial governments were not ready but we still conducted the local government polls. We are making sure that the mistakes made by the ECP in the past are not repeated.”
During the meeting, committee chairman Senator Taj Haider questioned the commission about the delays in scheduling the elections, expressing concerns about the completion of constituency boundaries on time.
“You are announcing a date for every other task while the general elections remain unscheduled. Do you believe the delimitation process wouldn’t be completed on time?” he asked.
The chairman stated his intention to convey the committee’s message to the ECP by writing a letter on behalf of his party.