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Election staff take oath to remain neutral in polls

ISLAMABAD: Police officers as well as presiding officers, who will perform election duties, took oath on Sunday to maintain neutrality during the election process.

The oath taking ceremony was held in the federal capital where district returning officers administered the oath.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a total of 1.6 million staff has been deputed for poll duties across the country.

85,307 presiding officers, 510,356 assistant presiding officers, and 255,178 polling officers will render their services on the Election Day.

The sources privy to the ECP say a total of 4,945 polling stations lack basic facilities.

Despite repetitive directives from the commission, the provincial governments didn’t ensure to cater the needs of all polling stations, the ECP officials lamented.

The sources shared that about hundreds of sensitive polling station does not even have a boundary wall.

Among all provinces, the situation of Sindh’s polling stations has been worst so far. There are 3,688 ramshackle polling stations out of the total 17,747 stations.

In Balochistan, 576 out of 4,420 polling stations and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 570 of the total 12,634 polling stations lack facilities such as boundary walls, availability of water and provision of electricity.

Punjab has 107 polling stations which do not meet the required standards of having fundamental facilities, whereas in federal capital, only four polling stations are in a need to have basic facilities.

A total number of 11,855 candidates running for the 849 general seats of National Assembly and four provincial assemblies.

This includes a total of 3,459 candidates — 1,623 from Punjab, 824 from Sindh, 725 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 287 from Balochistan. They will contest for the 272 general seats of the National Assembly. The National Assembly – the lower house of the parliament in the Pakistan’s democratic system consists of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected, 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 are open to religious minorities.

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