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LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan has no authority to take a decision about holding the general elections using biometric system as it was dependent on Parliament’s nod in this regard.

The ECP can only continue experimenting with the use of biometric system in elections and keep the Parliament posted.

“When the Parliament will decide to hold elections on biometric system, we will use the hi-tech facility in any next election,” ECP secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told media persons here on Wednesday.

He said a big step like introducing the biometric system in general elections could not be taken at once and added that the commission’s law provided that biometric’s pilot testing could be done in by-elections.

37 D&SJs take oath as district returning officers

Answering a question, the ECP secretary said the commission was ready to hold the general elections 2018 either within 60 or 90 days, as it was up to the government to decide whether it would complete its term or dissolve the assembly ahead of the cut-off date.

“The ECP is ready to perform its constitutional duty,” he asserted.

Earlier, Punjab Election Commissioner Mr Sharifullah administered oath to 37 district and session judges who had been appointed as district returning officers (DROs) for the general elections 2018 in the province. They would also be trained by the commission so that they could effectively discharge their duties.

Speaking to the DROs, Mr Sharifullah said the upcoming poll would be the most sensitive election given the current political scenario and that was why the DROs had been selected from the judiciary, which commanded respect in society.

He said holding of fair and transparent general elections would be crucial to the political stability and future of Pakistan. Besides the ECP itself, he said, the DROs would be playing a vital role by discharging their constitutional duty. He said the DROs would also be responsible for ensuring law and order on the polling day.

Mr Fateh Muhammad said it was the commission’s duty to train the election staff to ensure effective working on the election day. In the first phase, he said, 84 lead trainers would be imparted training. The lead trainers would then train 2,644 master trainers, he added.

After DROs’ one-day training, he said, three-day training workshops would be organised for returning officers across the province. After Eidul Fitr, he said, senior presiding officers and presiding officers would be imparted training.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018