All set for free, fair & transparent elections Wednesday

ISLAMABAD : The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed all the preparations for the General Elections 2018 scheduled to take place in the country on Wednesday.

The high-intensity election campaign, marred by a series of blasts, came to a close last night.

Election will take place on July 25 (Wednesday) and voting will continue from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm without any break.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) caped their electioneering last night by holding massive rallies in different parts of the country as a last-ditch attempt to persuade voters to vote for their candidates.

Political leaders and contesting candidates made last ditch efforts through public gatherings, corner meetings and rallies to garner maximum public support. The election candidates, however, are allowed to do door-to-door campaigning Wednesday.

The election campaign picked up a month ago, witnessing multiple terror attacks targeting election-related activities and candidates but political parties and assembly aspirants remained undeterred and continued with their canvassing to cultivate voters’ support.

Over 100 million voters to exercise voting right in elections

The ECP has 105,955,409 registered voters with 59,224,263 male and 46,731,146 female voters. According to final electoral rolls-2018 shared by the election commission, out of total registered voters 60,672,870 were from Punjab, 22,391,244 voters were from Sindh, 15,316,299 voters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 4,299,494 voters from Balochistan, 2,510,154 voters from FATA and 765,348 voters from federal capital.

In Punjab, district Lahore has 5,398,623 voters which is the highest votes in the province while lowest votes are in district Hafizabad which are 684,447.

In Sindh, the highest 1.86m voters are registered in Karachi Central, followed by 1.66m in Karachi West and 1.43m in Karachi East. Larkana has 703,255 voters and Shaheed Benazirabad has 775,613 voters.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz President Mian Shahbaz Sharif, PTI Chief Imran Khan, MQM convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Dr. Farooq Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party Chief Mustafa Kamal are contesting the election for national assembly seats from different constituencies in Karachi.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are 15,316,299 registered voters in the province.

1,693,386 voters are registered in Peshawar which is the highest number of votes in the province while district Torghar has the least number of votes of 90,414.

Balochistan have 4,299,494 registered votes and district Quetta stands first in terms of the highest number of 683,957 voters, while district Sherani has the lowest registered voters of 39,753.

FATA has 2,510,154 registered votes, while Islamabad’s number stands at 765,348 votes.
Elections 2018: Will Pakistan witness a historic turnout on July 25?

Pakistan Army has completed deployment of troops across the country in respective areas of responsibility to provide mandated assistance to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding free, fair and transparent Elections 2018.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the troops would coordinate with other law enforcement agencies and local administration for ensuring safe and secure environment on the polling day.

As many as 450,000 policemen and 3,00,000 army troops have been deployed for the polling day.

ECP has issued special directives to the polling staff according to which senior presiding officers will serve the same duty as that of assistant presiding officer (APO). He will also be the acting presiding officer and will sign form 45 and 46.

In case of any error, both presiding and senior officer will be held accountable.

The senior officers will keep notice whether the vote has been cast in ballot box or not. It will be better that the APO keep the CNIC of voters with himself until the vote casting procedure completes.

The duties assigned to APO includes entering CNIC and vote number, registering gender, name electoral area, taking voter’s thumbprint, stamping counter file in front and signature.

It will be public holiday on the polling day on Wednesday.

Amid all hustle bustles in general elections that Pakistan witnessed since 1970, one point has been in the national debates over the period of time and that is ‘low turnout of voters’.

The voting turnout has been declining after the first direct general elections of 1970 when the country observed the biggest 63 percent turnout of voters and this time it is a test case for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and all other stakeholders to achieve maximum participation of voters on July 25, 2018.

According to data provided by the ECP, the turnout of general elections held in 2013 was 53.02 percent as compared to the situation in the national ballot of 2008 with a 44.23 percent turnout.

The turnout of 2013 election indicates the possible circumstances of bringing the turnout to more than 60 percent whereas it needs to mobilize, educate and make people realize their fundamental right to elect and decide the future of the country as their civic duty.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) started a campaign to create awareness amongst the voters till the polling day.

According to the commission, the voters are required to bring their original computerized national identity card on the polling day to cast their vote. Green ballot papers are for the National Assembly seats while white for the provincial assemblies’ seats.

The Election Commission has also launched SMS service through which the voters by sending their CNIC number on 8300 can get details about their polling station.

A result transmission system has also been introduced through which the polling staff by using an application in their cell phones will send election results directly to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

According to ECP’s instructions the State Bank of Pakistan and other private banks have published the advertisement of the commission motivating the public to cast their vote in the general elections not as a common practice rather a national obligation. It has been observed that all the banks have displayed the add on their automated teller machines (ATMs) or cashpoints.

Strict security measures have been adopted to avoid any possible untoward incident on poll day.

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