ISLAMABAD: In a significant move towards ensuring transparency in poll processes, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday made public a draft polling scheme for the upcoming general elections containing constituency-wise lists of polling stations, number of registered voters and other relevant details.
“The step is in line with the provisions of the Elections Act 2017 meant to prevent last-minute questionable changes in the polling scheme carried out in almost all the previous polls by the returning officers, apparently at the behest of some influential candidates,” a senior ECP official told Dawn.
Under the proposed scheme, 85,000 polling stations with 285,000 polling booths will be set up across the country.
The ECP official said 137 district returning officers (DROs), 849 returning officers (ROs) and 1,698 assistant returning officers were appointed by the commission on May 7 and the draft polling scheme was shared with the ROs within a week after their appointment in accordance with the law.
Gap between male and female voters widens to 12.50 million; six alphabets among 330 election symbols
He said that under Section 59 of the Elections Act, a returning officer was required to personally verify the proposed polling stations, add to or alter the list as he might deem necessary and publish outside his office the preliminary list of polling stations, inviting objections and suggestions, if any, to be filed within 21 days of its publication.
He said a voter might file an objection or a suggestion with the DRO within the specified period only in connection with the polling station to which he had been assigned. The DRO may, after hearing the objections or considering the suggestions, if any, filed with him and making such summary inquiry as he may deem necessary, make alterations in the list of polling stations as may be required and shall, at least 30 days before the polling day, publish in the official Gazette and on the website of the commission the final list of polling stations of each constituency in the district.
The official said that meant the preliminary list of polling stations should be ready by May 29, which would be disposed of by the RO by June 18 and placed on the official website by June 22. He said the preliminary list of the polling stations would also be posted on the ECP’s official website, claiming that there was no room for any manipulative changes in the polling scheme this time.
Gap between male and female voters
Meanwhile, the gap between male and female voters has widened to reach close to 12.50 million. According to the statistics of final electoral rolls placed by the ECP on its website, the total number of voters has climbed to around 106 million — 59.22m male and 46.73m female voters.
The voters in Punjab form 57.1 per cent of the total voters across the country. The number of voters in Punjab is more than 60m — 33.67m male and 26.99m female voters.
In Sindh, the ratio of voters comes to around 21pc. The total number of registered voters in the province is 22.39m —12.43m male and 9.95m female voters.
Electorates from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constitute 14.4pc of the total registered voters. The number of voters in the province is 15.31m — 8.70m male and 6.61m female voters.
Balochistan’s 4.2m voters make up 4pc of the total number of voters — 2.48m male and 1.81m female voters.
The Federally Administered Tribal Areas has 2.5m voters which constitute 2.4pc of the total voters. Fata has 1.5m male and 1m female voters.
The federal area’s 0.765m voters form 0.72pc of the total voters. They include 0.407m male and 0.357m female voters.
Six alphabets are among the 330 election symbols posted by the ECP on its website. These include A, B, G, K, P and S.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2018