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Will ECP ensure free & fair elections?


News Analysis |

As elections are just a day away, security measures have been taken by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in order to ensure free and fair elections.

There is a comprehensive code of conduct provided, as to what their duties are and in which matters they can interfere. Otherwise, the voters need not worry of any incitement, or that they may have to give vote under duress.

Multiple steps have been taken by the ECP to safeguard the citizens as well as the polling staff throughout the country.

Ballot boxes, ballot booth, and ballot papers have been delivered to returning officers as of 24th July 2018. ECP has established a complaint centre to register the grievances of voters and candidates. Chairman ECP while talking to media ensured that every effort is being made to ensure the timely and smooth elections.

Read more: ECP to use “highest quality” ballot papers in elections 2018

While talking to a local news channel ECP chairman clarified the strategies which will be implemented on 25th July.

How will election results be disseminated to the general public?

In order to ensure that no indiscripenices occur in the proper dissemination of poll results, ECP has directed the Returning Officers (RO) to collect the results from each district and after their scrutiny, send them directly to ECP.

Once ECP receives complete results from a particular district, it will then upload it on its website while providing the data to media as well.

How will ECP avoid any variations in result during its transportation?

Unlike last general elections of 2013, ECP chairman stated that this time around there will be no such variations from polling stations to the Returning Officers.

Direct correspondence with the chairman of ECP was conducted, which led to various curiosities being settled, as shared by local sources.

A copy will be made of the result of polling stations per district, per polling box, in the respective areas. Then this will be sent to the Returning Officer (RO), who will tally these. During 2013, the RO’s were allegedly accused of delaying the deadline of the voting result. This won’t be tolerated this time, Chairman ECP added.

The deadline of the announcement of results of 2018 General Elections is 2 AM and maximum efforts are promised by ECP director that they wouldn’t be any delay or change of schedule at the 11th hour. ECP Chairman promised that the elections tribunals will be given autonomy and a quick disposal of every complaint shall be ensured. Foolproof arrangements have been made to fend off pre and post-poll rigging added the head of ECP.

Read more: ECP’s code of conduct: Directions for voters, candidates and officers

Why army officer and security personals are deployed inside polling stations/booths?

General Public expects their privacy to be observed, however, according to the ECP, army deployment will be under the order, for the pure sake of their protection and security.

The army and law enforcement are said to be helping out for security purposes only. There is a comprehensive code of conduct provided, as to what their duties are and in which matters they can interfere. Otherwise, the voters need not worry of any incitement, or that they may have to give vote under duress.

How can these plans of ECP guarantee success?

Unlike last time when United Nations Development of Pakistan (UNDP) came up with a strategic plan for 2013 elections which choked, the ECP has made a comprehensive code of conduct and strategies to ensure free and fair elections in 2018.

The method or medium used for sending results is through Android and technology. The medium was tested, twice, on 16th and 21st July respectively.

Where some people are glad, that precautionary measures have been taken for the upcoming polling as of 25th July 2018. others might not be satisfied as suspicions arise in regard to the intentions of the army. People are questioning, that ‘are they really being deployed for the sake of safety and they’re just a precaution so riots don’t break out?’ ‘If so, then why, inside the polling stations, why not outside.?

Some people tend to question the intentions of the recruitment of such law enforcement and army personals, however, time and time the ECP ensures the general public, that in order to support peace and stability, for the sake of security and righteousness, these personals have been deployed.