ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan appointed on Friday key electoral officers and made public an updated electoral roll containing 85.42 million entries.
According to the commission, 126 district returning officers (DROs), 425 returning officers (ROs) and 708 assistant returning officers (AROs) have been appointed for the conduct of coming general election.
Thirty-six DROs, 149 ROs and 307 AROs have been appointed in Punjab; 30 DROs, 65 ROs and 99 AROs in Balochistan; 27 DROs, 64 ROs and 130 AROs in Sindh; 24 DROs, 133 ROs and 145 AROs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; eight DROs, 12 ROs and 23 AROs in Fata; and one RO, two DROs and four AROs in the Federal Capital.
The total number of registered voters, which was 84.36 million in June last year, increased to 85.42 million on Feb 27.
But still a gigantic task is ahead for the Election Commission of Pakistan as the number of computerised national identity card (CNIC) holders has reached 93.4 million. This simply means that some eight million eligible voters have been left out of the electoral roll.
An Election Commission of Pakistan official told Dawn that efforts would be made to enrol all registered voters before the announcement of the election schedule.
The commission’s additional secretary, Mohammad Afzal Khan, wrote letters to leaders of mainstream political parties on Friday, urging them to ask their workers to check enrolment of votes through the unique 8300 service.
He said it was the last chance for correction as well as fresh enrolment as voters because the legal doors would close after the announcement of the poll schedule.
Afzal Khan told Dawn that training for 700,000 polling officials would start on March 4. He said a meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan with Law Minister Farooq H. Naek would be held to finalise the amended version of nomination papers for candidates. After that it would be sent to the president for approval.
He said Rs2 billion of the Rs6bn sought for election expenses had been released to the commission and a meeting with the finance secretary for the release of the remaining amount would be held on March 7.
Ninety per cent of non-sensitive material has been procured and printed. Non-market paper with distinct security features has also been procured.
Afzal Khan said five election tribunals in Punjab and three each in other provinces would be set up and the provincial election commissions were in the process of arranging buildings for the tribunals.
He said directives were being issued to keep Election Commission of Pakistan offices in all districts open round the clock to facilitate enrolment of voters and correction in electoral lists.