ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended the last date for voter registration and filing of claims for any correction or transfer of votes, to facilitate the public.
The previous date set for this by the ECP expired on Tuesday. The electoral rolls will stand frozen on the new cut-off date which is April 30.
A senior officer of the ECP told Dawn that under Section 38 of the Elections Act, 2017, “if the commission considers it necessary, on account of any gross error or irregularity in or in the preparation of an electoral roll for any electoral area or a part of an electoral area or other cogent reasons including changes in the limits of that electoral area or large scale displacement of population due to a natural calamity, it may, for reasons to be recorded, by order direct that the roll for such electoral area or part of electoral area shall stand cancelled and that afresh electoral roll for that electoral area or part of electoral area be prepared”.
He also referred to Section 39 (1) of the Act which reads: “No revision of or correction in an electoral roll of an electoral area or inclusion or transfer of a vote from the electoral roll of an electoral area to the electoral roll of another electoral area shall be made nor shall any order under Section 38 be made in respect of any electoral roll during the period beginning thirty days before the day on which the term of an assembly or a local government is due to expire till announcement of the results of the general election to the assembly or the local government but it shall not apply to an election to fill a casual vacancy in an assembly or a local government.”
In a directive issued by the ECP, signed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza and other ECP members, it was highlighted that under clause 219 (a) of the Constitution and Section 23 of the Elections Act, the commission was charged with the duty of preparing electoral rolls for election to the national and provincial assemblies and revising the rolls periodically to keep them up-to-date.
It pointed out that the revising authorities were previously required to decide all claims by April 30 and due to extension in the display period, the time required for decisions on claims would not be available due to cut-off date (April 30) when the electoral rolls would be frozen.
It, however, pointed out that Section 49 of the Act empowered the commission for deviation from the laid down procedure in exceptional circumstances for revision of electoral rolls in respect of any electoral area. Under the directive, the ECP has asked the revising authorities to will decide the claims, objections and applications for corrections till May 7.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2018