Sher Afgan says ballot papers to be delivered to all ROs today

ISLAMABAD: Sher Afgan says special security measures have been adopted for dispatch of ballot papers.

Ballot papers would be delivered to all Returning Officers today and handed over to respective Presiding Officers on Friday next.

He said special security measures have been adopted for dispatch of ballot papers and their collection in view of incidents of snatching of ballot papers in the past.

Sher Afgan said the Commission is fully geared to discharge its responsibility of holding elections in a fair and transparent manner. He said for the first time electoral rolls bearing photographs of voters have been published. He said every voter will have to show his or her National Identity Card to the Presiding Officer who will match the photographs of the card with that of the electoral rolls before allowing casting of vote.

The Director-General of the Commission asked voters to send SMS containing their National Identity Card number at 8300 to get information about vote number and location of polling station.

Asked whether it is correct proposition of the Commission to suppose that every voter will be able to get this information through mobile phone‚ he said there are 120 million cell phone users and the Commission presumed that at least one family member has the facility. He said the E-ticketing was launched yesterday and so far 15 million voters have obtained information through this service.

He clarified that once a voter obtains this information‚ it is not necessary for him to carry mobile phone to the polling station. He can note down the information on a piece of paper and take it to the polling station so that the vote casting formalities are completed without loss of time.

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About result compilation‚ he said there would be two parallel systems including computerized Result Management and Manual systems. Presiding Officers would send result to the Returning Officer who would consolidate the figures of the Constutuency and transmit it to the Election Commission in Islamabad.

Asked about reports that in some areas‚ staff deputed for elections refused to perform the duty‚ Sher Afgan said teachers of Balochistan had reservations because of security threats. However‚ the issue has been resolved after assurances by the Commission‚ provincial administration and Corps Commander. Similarly‚ he said‚ the issue of deployment of staff in Lahore has also been resolved.

The Director-General said the Election Commission in collaboration with provincial governments and military authorities has taken all necessary measures to ensure secure environment on polling day.

When his attention was drawn to the plans of Dr. Tahirul Qadri to hold protest demonstrations on polling day‚ he said Dr. Qadri has given assurances that they would remain peaceful. He‚ however‚ said the Commission and law enforcing agencies would monitor their protests and take necessary measures if needed.

To a question he said level playing field is available to all parties but some are taking part in electioneering actively and others are not so active.

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