PESHAWAR, May 2: Provincial election commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sono Khan Baloch said on Thursday that casting vote was the fundamental right of every person irrespective of gender and women could not be barred from this right under the constitution of Pakistan.

He told the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) that 40 women candidates were also contesting the elections on general seats, including one from Bajaur Agency, which was an encouraging sign for the womenfolk.

Under the leadership of chief observer Michael Ghaler, the EU election observation team called on Mr Baloch at his office here.

The delegation included Salome Hirvaskoski, human rights/gender analyst; Antje Kristin Grawe, political analyst; Gert-Michael Binder, long-term observer; and Marie Gaume, long-term observer.

Officers of the ECP, including director (elections) Talib Hussain, director (MIS) Haidar Ali and deputy director Mohammad Farid, were also present on the occasion.

The KP election commissioner briefed the EU delegation about arrangements so far made by the ECP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas for conduct of the general elections.

He said that the ECP was committed to holding the coming elections in free and peaceful manner with the assistance of administration and law-enforcement agencies.

Meanwhile, the same EUEOM delegation also called on Caretaker Chief Minister Tariq Pervez Khan at his office here on Thursday.

Talking to the delegation, the chief minister reiterated resolve of the provincial government to extend all possible assistance to the election commission to conduct the general elections in a free, fair and impartial manner in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that it was constitutional responsibility of the caretaker government to provide full security to the voters and contesting candidates, and the government had been taking measures to this end.

Provincial Caretaker Minister for Home and Tribal Affair Fayyaz Toru, Chief Secretary Ghulam Dastagir Akhtar, provincial election commissioner and secretaries of information and home and tribal affairs departments were also present on the occasion, says a handout.

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