ISLAMABAD: To ensure transparency in the upcoming polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will be importing papers for the printing of ballot papers.
According to sources, 210 million ballot papers will be printed with more than Rs2 billion being spent on the exercise, making it the most expensive venture in the history of the country’s elections.
The ballot papers are said to carry a watermark, something which none of the previous papers had.
The ECP has asked the district returning officers (DRO) and the returning officers (RO) to send the number of ballot papers needed in each district, along with a list of voters by June 30.
The papers will also be printed in “round figures”, meaning if a polling station has 1,201 voters, 1,300 papers will be printed, the sources added.
Moreover, it was decided in a meeting at the ECP today that the printing of ballot papers will commence from July 1 at printing presses in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi under the supervision of the army.
The distribution of ballot papers will also be done under the army’s supervision.
The ECP has also requested the Defence Ministry to deploy 350,000 army personnel to be posted inside and outside the polling stations for a total of four days around polling day.
ECP reminds staff to observe office timings
In a circular issued on Wednesday, the ECP reiterated for its staff the cancellation of all holidays, including the weekends, until the July 25 polls.
Directing supervisors to ensure the presence of their staff, the ECP expressed displeasure at the lax attitude of officials regarding work timings and observed that staff do not come in on weekends and also come to office late and leave early.
General elections will take place on July 25 across Pakistan.
EU observers reach Pakistan
A team of the European Union’s (EU) Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) reached Islamabad today to monitor the election process.
The EU EOM also visited the ECP to hold a meeting with top officials.
The mission’s head, EU MP Michael Galhar, to Geo News in Brussels that the representation of voters in many constituencies has improved due to the recently conducted census.
“There may be differences on many things but the ECP has largely managed to bring the situation at hand under control,” Galhar said.