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ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, on Monday, inaugurated the Pre-Service Training (PST) Programme for 75 election officers of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) freshly inducted in Basic Scale (BS)-17. These officers would receive four-month training at the Federal Elections Academy (FEA) before being assigned professional responsibilities.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the CEC said, the ECP made the fresh recruitments at the officer-level following "thoroughly transparent process."

"It is for the very first time that the ECP has inducted such a big number of officers-and that too through a very fair, transparent and merit-based process," he said.

To ensure merit, technology was widely used during the recruitment process, he added. The 16-week training programme has been launched to ensure implementation of Section 12 (a) of Elections Act 2017, Raja said.

This section states, "Measures for training and public awareness -

The commission shall, from time to time, as it may deem fit, (a) conduct training programmes for election officials including officials of the commission, any government or corporations, and autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies controlled by any of these governments and officers from the judiciary, if any, deputed or selected in connection with an election in accordance with procedure laid down under this act or the rules."

Secretary ECP Dr Akhtar Nazir said the electoral body received more than 100,000 applications for 75 posts of election officers. More than 50,000 candidates appeared in the written test, he said. The short-listed candidates had to appear in another written test and an interview after which 75 officers were finally recruited, the secretary ECP said.

He said the PST programme comprised has 300 marks, and seniority of the freshly recruited officers would be determined by their performance during the training. "It has been ensured that even after recruitment, merit would not be ignored and performance would be the key for the freshly recruited officers in determining their seniority," he said.

Director Administration at FEA Mukhi Bano said there are a total of 18 modules of the PST including electoral laws, office management, leadership skills, media management among others. Institutions like National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS), Secretariat Training Institute (STI), Information Service Academy (ISA) and ECP's development partners would also assist the FEA in some modules, she added.

Speaking at the ceremony, the members ECP and provincial election commissioners also stressed on the importance of PST for the career ECP officers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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