- Commission secretary says schedules for elections of reserved, indirect slots in Punjab, Sindh hit by litigation
- Says elections conducted successfully despite diversified challenges; Barring a few incidents, entire process largely remained peaceful
The Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday launched an analytical report on the local government elections held in all four provinces, cantonment boards and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
The report, unveiled by ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad during a press conference, detailed that around Rs 6.25 billion were spent as expenditures and turnout of voters in LG elections was recorded at 46.52 per cent.
According to the ECP official, as many as 262,683 candidates participated in the elections across the country whereas the number of registered voters was 89,139,999.
The exercise ended successfully in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, cantonment boards and ICT by formation of the local governments.
“So far as Punjab and Sindh provinces are concerned, the elections for direct slots in all the tiers have been held through adult franchise, however, schedules for elections of the reserved/indirect slots have been hit by litigation, therefore, delaying formation of the governments in these two provinces,” the secretary said.
He said the activity involved hectic exercise of delimitation of the constituencies; registration/revision of electoral rolls; comprehensive voter education campaign covering around 90 million voters; establishment of 75,062 polling stations; deployment of 708,875 polling staff, their training and above all security arrangements ensuring conducive environment for the elections.
In order to strengthen the electoral process in the country, the ECP believes in continuing the reform process in consultation with all the stakeholders, the ECP official added.
Babar said the ECP held almost 30 consultative sessions with domestic and international stakeholders, political parties, civil society organisations, media, observers groups and technology experts. It also carried out multiple exercises introducing technology in the electoral process, pilots and mocks, keeping in view extension of services to overseas voters and reforms in the result management system, he added.
After the 18th Amendment, Article 140A and Article 219 of the Constitution coupled with the directions of the Supreme Court, the ECP conducted LG elections after delimitation of constituencies/ wards of the local councils through its own officers for the first time, he said.
The ECP officers completed the assignment to the satisfaction of political parties and general public, he added.
Babar said the successful conduct of LG elections has been acknowledged by all stakeholders and observers, adding that the entire poll process that took place in different phases, times and legal frameworks, could be termed as satisfactory despite diversified challenges.
Barring a few incidents, the entire poll process largely remained peaceful, he said.
The ECP secretary hoped that “this report will help us assess our strengths and weaknesses and contribute towards improvement in electoral processes paving way for more transparent and credible elections in future.”
“This report will also be beneficial for researchers, students and all interested individuals & bodies operating on the subject,” he went on to add.
The process of LG elections started with the conduct of elections in Balochistan in 2013, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, cantonment boards and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) in 2015.
“The role of law enforcement agencies was equally positive. They demonstrated exemplary national spirit in assisting ECP to complete the assignment. Pakistan Army rendered full cooperation in all phases of the event despite their pre-occupation on internal and external fronts,” said Babar.
The secretary thanked the political parties, candidates, media, observers and all stakeholders who cooperated with the ECP during the event. He said the role of political parties, candidates and their workers was instrumental in preventing violence during campaign period, on the poll and during the post-poll period.