Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dispelled this impression being propagated in the social media that the commission wants to avoid the foreign observers from the process of upcoming general elections, 2018. In a clarification, the spokesman of ECP said that the commission considers observers including local and foreigner as vital part of election process and that a comprehensive strategy is being chalked out for these observers so that they do not face hurdles in observation of general elections.
He said that foreign observers send their application through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for observation of elections, which is an international standard operating procedure. He added under country’s rules, anyone who come to Pakistan for observation of election process, the ECP will issue permission letter for the purpose. He made it clear that election observation is a part of election laws and the detail and procedure is given in section 238 of Elections Act- 2017.
Meanwhile, it it is reported that three days training for Returning Officers (ROs) tasked to conduct the general election 2018 in Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Fata began here on Thursday. Provincial Election Commissioner (PEC) KP, Pir Maqbool Ahmed formally inaugurated the inaugural training session of the ROs at a local hotel here. In his address, the PEC said ROs’ selection from judiciary has strongly reflected the confidence reposed in them and expressed the hope that they would continue their services with more dedication and professional commitment.
The training of first phase of ROs was started at Peshawar, Swat and DI Khan today and will continue till May 19. The second phase will commence on May 21 and will continue till May 23 while third phase will begin on May 24 that will continue till May 26. The judicial officers of KP and administrative officers of Fata were appointed Returning Officers for general election 2018.
As many as 19 ROs of Peshawar and seven in Charsadda were being provided training at Peshawar’s PC Hotel while 11 ROs in Swat, four each in Buner and Dir Upper and two in Chitral were being imparted training at Serana Hotel Swat. At National Club Di Khan, training was being provided to 5 ROs in Bannu, four Lakki Marwat, one each RO at FRs and North Waziristan and two ROs in Tank.
The second phase of training will start on May 21-23 at PC Peshawar where seven ROs of Nowshera, 11 Mardan, seven Swabi whereas at Shelton Hotel Swat, seven ROs of Dir Lower, three each at Malakand Agency, Shangla and Bajaur Agency would be trained.—APP