Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja assessed on Tuesday the preparedness for the next general election with the former assuring the latter of provision of “all necessary resources” for the polls.
The premier assured the CEC that the interim government would provide “funds and necessary security for the elections so that ECP could ensure free, fair and transparent elections in accordance with the Constitution”.
As funds and security remained a serious concern in the recent past, polls in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa could not be held as the then government told the Supreme Court that it did not have resources for the purpose.
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The prime minister’s meeting with the CEC at the Prime Minister House came at a time when the country is gearing up for next general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024.
During the meeting, the CEC apprised the premier about the preparations for the elections, saying ECP had made “all the necessary preparations” in this regard.
Raja maintained that the lists of polling stations and polling staff had already been prepared and that the printing of election material was also in final stages.
He stated that the electoral rolls were being finalized and would be delivered soon to all the districts.
He observed that the ECP was legally bound to conduct polls and issue the election schedule on time, saying “God willing” he would smoothly fulfil his constitutional responsibilities.
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During the meeting, Raja invited PM Kakar to visit the ECP to review the preparations for the general election.
“The election commission will be provided with funds and necessary security for the elections so that it can ensure free, fair and transparent elections in accordance with the Constitution,” a statement issued by ECP quoted PM Kakar as saying.
The meeting between the prime minister and the CEC came on the heels of the latter’s finalizing the election date with President Dr Arif Alvi on the orders of the Supreme Court.
It was significant as earlier Raja had even snubbed and refused to meet the president on the grounds that it was ECP’s prerogative to announce the polls date. However, following apex court’s order, the CEC met President Alvi and reached a consensus on election date.