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ECP desires elections are held in a peacefull environment: secretary

ISLAMABAD: Just a day before the general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is confident that all preparations have been made and the polls will be held in a peacefull and conducive environment.

Secretary ECP Babar Yaqub on Tuesday gave an overview of the 2018 general elections. He said there are several law and order challenges and they desire to conduct peaceful elections.

He said that votes are precious and people should exercise their right to vote. He called on everyone to come out and vote, and said that all rumours that elections will not be held on schedule have been laid to rest. “The nation will celebrate democracy,” said the ECP secretary.

The secretary said that 350,000 armed forces officials and 400,000 policemen will be deployed during the elections. Furthermore, CCTVs have been installed at 17,000 sensitive polling stations to avoid any misconduct.

There are 11,673 election candidates contesting including 1623 independent candidates. The are 172 National Assembly and 386 provincial assemblies seats reserved to women, while 44 National Assembly and 113 provincial assemblies seats are reserved for minorities.

There are 120 parties registered with the ECP out of which 95 political parties are contesting elections. 88 parties have fulfilled the requirement to provide at least five percent election tickets to women. More than 1.6 million election staff will be on election duties.

However, elections will not be held on nine constituencies. He said that elections in NA-60 Rawalpindi have been postponed on directives of the Supreme Court, while elections on NA-103 Faisalabad, PK-78 Peshawar, PK-99 D.I. Khan and PK-87 Mianwali, PS-87 Malir, PB-35 Mastung. and PS-06 Kashmore  declared unopposed, will not be held.

He said that 105,955,409 people will have the right to exercise their vote. He hoped that people will come out in large numbers and the turnout will be higher as compared to previous elections.

He said that polling staff will provide results on result transmission system (RTS). He said the election material has been sent to over eighty percent of polling stations, and the results will be transmitted on state-run TV. He warned that mobile phones and ladies’ handbags are strictly prohibited elections inside polling booths.

He said they have briefed foreign observers and analysts after detailed meetings who are reviewing the environment in which elections are being conducted. The commission had also held meetings with representatives of political parties.

He said the code of conduct have been provided to security officers deployed at polling stations. Furthermore, the commission will also take complaints based on video footages and will act promptly to address such complaints.

Regarding the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) that were found dumped in a drain in Lahore, the secretary said the cards were expired and revoked and chairman NADRA has assured to investigate the matter.

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