PESHAWAR, Feb 2: Ahead of the next polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan has selected 11 retired session judges to decide the countrywide election disputes within 120 days.

This was stated by ECP additional secretary Afzal Khan during the ‘Meet The Press Programme’ at Peshawar Press Club on Saturday.

He said the ECP had taken effective steps in line with the Constitution to ensure free, fair, transparent and secure elections in the country.

Mr Afzal said fresh appointments to government departments and new development schemes had been banned to check political influence in the next elections.

“The ban is not meant to create problems for the people but to check illegal practices,” he said.

The ECP additional secretary said it was the government’s duty to maintain law and order in the country for ensuring the holding of peaceful elections and that the ECP had fulfilled all its responsibilities in this respect in consultation with stakeholders.

He said the coming elections would be ‘mother of all past elections’ as all candidates would have to clear their dues, taxes or other legal and constitutional obligations for contesting the elections.

Mr Afzal said with installation of modern computerised system, the chances to rig elections had been minimised, while errors in voter lists had also been removed.

He said it was up to the people to approach the ECP in case of any error in electoral rolls or for transfer of vote, registration of vote and other relevant matters.

The ECP additional secretary said it was for the first time that monitoring teams had been formed to ensure transparency in polls, check ghost votes and educate voters on election process.

He said the monitoring teams equipped with cameras and other necessary equipment would visit all constituencies in different districts to document election campaigns and report their observations to the ECP.

Mr Afzal said the people were being made aware of the importance of their vote and how to cast vote through media in 130 cities of the country.

“Contesting political parties should follow the ECP Code of Conduct, which bans display of weapons, firing on the day of polling, misuse of power, misbehaviour with election staff,” he said.

The ECP additional secretary said the disqualification of election candidate Wahida Shah was an eye-opener for those wanting to influence the election process.

He said Wahida Shah had been disqualified in the by-elections in Sindh by slapping a member of the election staff and she would not be able to contest the elections this time, too.

Mr Afzal urged the media to play educate voters on the significance of casting vote and ensure participation of maximum voters in the polls.

Updated Feb 02, 2013 11:31pm

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