ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The National Assembly was informed on Wednesday that number of registered voters in the country is expected to cross 100 million mark by the end of current year.
During the question house, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab and Law Minister Zahid Hamid informed the House that as per the updated electoral rolls the figure had reached 97 million by December 05, 2016.
Briefing the House on various steps taken by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for upcoming general elections, Zahid Hamid said a parliamentary committee was constituted for electoral reforms that had held 20 meetings and received more than 700 recommendations by the members.
However, he said, during the last meeting the ECP ion boycotted the proceedings of the meeting due to some derogatory remarks by the elected representatives of a political party. The government is trying to bring them back but this is unfortunate that elected representatives give some objectionable remarks about the Commission.
Meanwhile, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs informed the House that proposed draft of electoral bill is expected to be finalized during current year and passed by the parliament. “Promulgation of the Election Act 2017 would simplify election laws and strengthen the electoral process.”
He said a polling station wise Result Management System has been specially designed for upcoming general elections to improve the accuracy, efficiency and transparency of the result tabulation process.
Aftab Sheikh said, RMS is being used by Returning Officers in pilot projects during by-elections at the time of preparing unofficial results and for consolidation of election results. The RMS has the capacity to store all the scanned pages of forms XIV, XVI and XVII along with data stored into database permanently.
He said the Commission occasionally consults political parties on certain measures to improve the electoral process while 124 District Voters Education Committees have been activated and are regularly accessing and motivating people to register themselves as voters.
The minister said for the capacity building of election staff a Federal Election Academy has been established where Interpersonal Skills and Capacity development Training Programs are conducted to train the staff.
He said a Letter of Award has been issued for purchase of Electronic Voting Machines and Bio-metric Verification Machines has been issued for purchase of these machines from qualified firms. Once the process is completed and machines are delivered, these will be checked in a pilot project.
He further stated that verification of polling stations and geo-tagging exercise is in progress and would be completed by mid this year. The exercise has been started to survey new polling stations and present condition of existing polling stations. Moreover, all districts are gathering geo-tagging information of polling station buildings nationwide.