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Three weeks time has been allocated for registration of votes left out during enumeration, correction of errors and submission of objections to give rolls a final shape by the end of May this year. – File Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan Wednesday announced to display newly prepared electoral rolls at 55,000 display centres countrywide and launched Short Messaging Service (SMS) for verification of voters details.

Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan informed a news conference that three weeks time has been allocated for registration of votes left out during enumeration, correction of errors and submission of objections to give rolls a final shape by the end of May this year.

The Secretary also informed about decision to convene a meeting with provincial governments after the Senate election to discuss with them holding of local government elections.

He said it is for the first time that the ECP is using state of the art SMS technology to facilitate over 80 million voters to get first hand information about their vote registration and a subsequent preparation of error free computerised electoral rolls.

Through the SMS service, any voter can send his CNIC number to a number '8300' and get valid information about registration of his or her vote.

He also called upon the political parties and the leaders to fully cooperate with the Commission in dispensation of its duties to error free rolls and remove decades old lacunae.

Ishtiaq said the 20th constitutional amendment has made ECP a sovereign and independent institution and it is proceeding independently to place names of 83.2 million voters at display centres.

He said although the information about registration will be provided to those sending an SMS, but their residential addresses and other particulars shall be kept secret to ensure that information is not misused.

The Secretary also informed that after finalisation of electoral rolls in May, an automated system for updating these rolls will be in place.

Elaborating on reforms under the five-year Strategic Plan, the Secretary said, in future dual nationality holders will be banned from contesting elections. The Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Federal and Provincial Ministers and Advisors will be barred from spending development funds in the constituencies after announcement of the election schedule. Their participation in election campaigns will also be banned.

He further stated that ECP will control and check the election expenditure with the cooperation of FBR and all arrangements to hold free, fair and transparent elections, will be finalised within next six to seven months.

Mentioning that 3.7 million overseas Pakistanis have also been registered in the draft electoral rolls, the Secretary said, ECP also supports the petition filed in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking intra-party elections.

This will ensure democratic spirit within the political parties to further strengthen the overall political and democratic culture in the country, he added.