Pakistan: Ready to hold Pak election within stipulated time: Poll panel


ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan slowly moved towards general elections, the country’s top election body on Thursday announced that it was ready to hold polls within the stipulated constitutional period.
The National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, would complete its five-year term on August 12 and would be dissolved, making it mandatory to organise elections within the next 60 days.
However, if it was dissolved before the completion of the term, the election should be held within 90 days.
Top officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), including Secretary ECP Omar Hamid Khan, Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal and others briefed the media about the preparation of elections.
The special secretary said the ECP was ready to “hold the election by October 11 if the National Assembly was dissolved on August 12”, adding that it would hold elections within 90 days if the assembly was dissolved earlier.
He also said that strict monitoring of political parties and candidates will be done to make them comply with the rules, especially those related to the expenditures during the upcoming general elections.
“Any party or candidate found exceeding the election expenditure limit will face legal action. We have established a system to monitor financial matters,” he said.
However, there is still confusion if the coalition government would allow the assembly to complete its term or dissolve it to get more time for elections.
According to some reports, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party have agreed to dissolve the assembly on August 8 but there is no clarity about it as the government is still insisting that the term would be completed.
However, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made it clear that the government would be handed over to a caretaker setup in August to oversee he elections.
Meanwhile, the government announced that the elections would be held on the old census which was held in 2017 despite a demand by some political parties that polls should be held on the basis of the new digital census carried out earlier this year.
Also, it is expected that young voters aged below 35 are 45 per cent of eligible voters and are set to play a deciding role in the upcoming general elections, according to statistics obtained from the ECP.
The number of registered voters in the country is over 126 million, including 60.8 million male and 50.7 million female voters.
Over 20.35 million voters were aged between 18 to 25 years, 30.26 million voters were aged between 26 to 35 years and 20.77 million voters were aged between 36 to 45 years.
The ratio of male and female voters in Pakistan stood at 54.02 per cent and 45.98 per cent respectively, according to the report.

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