ISLAMABAD: The President has promulgated an Ordinance to provide for the conduct of elections for the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. The Ordinance promulgated on July 9 and called the National and Provincial Assembles (Elections) Ordinance, 1970, shall come into force at once.

The procedure laid down in the Ordinance for the conduct of the elections introduces two major departures from ... past practices. It provides that there shall be only one ballot box at each polling station and polling booth for all the candidates for a seat, instead of separate ballot boxes for each candidate. The second important provision is that every voter shall be required to receive a personal mark made with indelible ink on the thumb or any other finger of either hand, so that no one can vote twice.

The voting procedure in general laid down in the Ordinance aimed at avoiding the possibilities of bogus voting. According to the election rules, a person guilty of corrupt practice was punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to Rs1,000 or with both. The Ordinance provides tribunals for the election disputes and an appeal to the High Court has been provided against the decisions of the tribunals.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2020