ISLAMABAD: Chief Election Commissioner M.J. Sikandar Sultan Raja on Tuesday issued a set of directives concerning the functioning of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) during the Covid-19 pandemic, and temporarily exempted 50 per cent staff and all female officers and employees from attending office.
According to an official statement, the women staff members have been exempted from attending the office till April 6. The gender, protocol and training wings of the commission will also remain closed till April 6.
While half the employees will have to attend office, the rest have been told to stay at home and strictly practise precautionary measures against novel coronavirus.
The same directives have been passed for the security staff. The office timings during the period will remain from 10am to 2pm. The employees suffering from fever, flu or cough would be exempted from coming to office, subject to the permission of the relevant wing’s head. All the officers of the commission, including the field staff, have been asked to remain at their duty stations till the coronavirus pandemic persists so that the government and its institutions could be assisted when needed.
Leaving station for necessary work would require a prior permission of the competent officer. All officers and subordinate staff members have been directed to remain available on phone so that their assistance in official work could be sought when required.
A separate room would be allocated at the ECP secretariat where designated officers and staff would meet visitors and solve issues facing them.
The visitors would not be allowed to go to any other room in the secretariat. ECP member retired Justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, on the other hand, appeared to be ignoring all calls for social distancing as he is set to visit offices of regional and district election commissioners in Punjab province in the first week of April.
According to an official letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, the officers concerned have been asked to make security and protocol arrangements for the visit scheduled for April 6-10.
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020