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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs recommended the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announce the election schedule at the earliest to remove any uncertainty regarding the conduct of elections in the country.

The committee met with Senator Taj Haider of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the chair on Tuesday.

It discussed the issues relating to coming general elections in the country, delimitations, and appointments made in the ECP.

While briefing the committee, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the preliminary delimitations would be published on September 27, 2023. However, a period of approximately 60 days would be required for filling and disposal of representations, added.

Deadline for delimitation bodies expires today

The committee recommended that the time period for filing of representations should be curtailed from 30 days to 7 days so that the general election could be held within 90 days.

It also drew the attention of the ECP towards the constitutional obligation to conduct general elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the National Assembly.

The committee, however, recommended the electoral watchdog to announce the election schedule at the earliest to remove any uncertainty regarding the conduct of elections in the country.

The senate committee was briefed on the arrangements and preparations for the upcoming general elections in the country.

The ECP secretary apprised that the general elections would encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial constituencies. He said that there are 91,809 tentative polling stations nationwide, with 41,809 designated as normal, 32,508 as sensitive, and 17,411 as highly sensitive.

He further apprised the committee that around one million polling staff would be required for the upcoming general elections.

Answering a question of the members of the committee about the methods for consolidation of results in the upcoming general elections, the ECP secretary said electronic devices having ECP-developed software would be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to the returning officers, and the software is also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections.

While discussing the funds for development schemes, Senator Haider emphasised that the funds should be allocated to the approved schemes.

The committee also deliberated on starred question No48 referred to it by the Senate, wherein, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, the mover, expressed satisfaction with the reply submitted by the ECP regarding the appointments made in ECP since July2020. Thereafter, the committee disposed of the matter.

The meeting was attended by senators, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Kamran Murtaza, Prof Sajid Mir, Syed Waqar Mehdi, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, the ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan, Secretary for Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Shakeel Malik, and other senior officers of relevant departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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