ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday finalised a plan to install surveillance cameras at around 20,000 polling stations for next year’s general elections.
According to sources, the commission, in its meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, ordered launching of the procurement process for election material and security cameras from Monday with the release of advertisements for pre-qualification of vendors.
The sources said that of the around 80,000 polling stations for the next general elections, some 20,000 were likely to be declared sensitive.
Under the plan, three security cameras will be installed at each polling booth.
Two cameras will be installed in the area where the polling staff issue ballot papers and verifies the voters, while another will be at the entrance of each booth.
ECP says staff training for 2018 elections can’t begin till passage of new law
The plan would involve an estimated cost of Rs1.2 billion, the sources said.
The procurement of election material will cost Rs1.5bn to Rs2bn.
The commission also decided to coordinate with parliament to ensure early passage of proposed election laws to avoid any hiccups in planning for the general polls, noting that the training of polling staff could not begin till the bill was adopted, the sources said.
They said the commission planned to train district returning officers, ROs and other polling staff, numbering around 700,000, from July and any delay in passage of the bill would jeopardise the process which would be completed in about six months.
Lead trainers drawn from within the ECP will be trained in the first phase. In the second phase, they will train the master trainers who will impart training to the polling staff in the third phase.
Replying to a question, the sources said the training manual and module would have to be designed in line with the new law.
They said the bill proposed amendment in election forms 14, 15 and 16, adding that a delayed legislation would cause a delay in printing of the training material. The proposed law also envisages a new result management and transmission system.
The commission noted that many polling stations in all the provinces lacked some basic facilities. Some do not have boundary walls, while others are without water supply and washrooms.
It was decided that the CEC would contact the four chief ministers to upgrade them to the level of model polling stations. The CEC will write to the chief ministers, inviting their attention towards the issue, besides holding meetings with them to urge them to remove the deficiencies.
It approved a new screen of voting compartments. The screen designed by the ECP is water-proof, folding, light-weight and durable. It will be made of polypropylene. The traditionally used screen was made of paperboard, which is not durable. The new screen will have a minimum life of 15 years.
Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2017