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ECP banks on technology to make polls fair

ISLAMABAD: As the general elections drew nearer, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday issued various deadlines for the voting process, including the final stage of the elections – the transmission of the results.

The ECP told all political parties and independent candidates in the election fray that their canvassing campaign must end 48 hours before the voting day, which would be the midnight between Feb 6 and 7.

As per the law, the ECP reminded the candidates, after 12am between Feb 6 and 7, no person would organise or participate in any meeting, procession, corner meeting or any such political activity.
“Legal action will be taken against those who violate the law,” it warned.

The ECP instructed all the returning officers and the presiding officers that the election results of the Feb 8 vote must be sent by 2am. However, if the results remained incomplete by that time, those could be relayed by 10:00am the next morning.

Technology will be fully used to make the general elections 2024 transparent and impartial, the ECP said in a statement.

For that purpose, it added, the Election Management System (EMS) would be used, through which the presiding officer concerned would forward the picture of ‘Form 45’ to the RO immediately.

The statement said that the presiding officers would be obliged to send the results of all the polling stations electronically or through available means.

In this regard, data operators would be provided to the ROs in all circles.

For a smooth transmission of the results electronically, the ECP would provide the fibre optics facility to the ROs. Besides, the ECP said, as an alternate, they would also be provided with Wi-Fi devices. It warned that action would be taken against those who would not submit results in time.

Separately, the ECP stopped all local governments and cantonments boards in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan from releasing funds for development schemes ahead of the general elections.

The ECP said that the ban aimed at ensuring transparent and fair elections.

The government on Monday said special permits were issued to the foreign media for the coverage of the general elections 2024 scheduled for Feb 8.

In the first phase, the government had issued permits to 49 foreign journalists from 13 different countries for election coverage, a statement said.

The foreign journalists were from multiple countries, including China, Japan, America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Serbia, Sweden, France, Germany, Australia, Thailand and Singapore.

According to the statement, about 136 foreign journalists have applied for permission to cover the elections to be held on Feb 8. Those Foreign journalists who have not yet been issued permits for coverage will get the permission passes soon.

Besides, delegations from the European Union and the Commonwealth countries will also come to observe the election.

The ECP has printed 200,000 accreditation cards.