ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a revised schedule for by-elections in two National Assembly constituencies from Punjab and three provincial assembly constituencies — two in Sindh and one in Punjab.
It has also withdrawn the schedule that it announced in June after the commission had become dysfunctional following the retirement of four of its members.
By-polls in the NA-63 constituency of Jhelum will now be held on August 31. The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of PML-N MNA Malik Iqbal Mehdi Khan. Similarly, the ECP has issued the schedule for by-elections in NA-162 (Sahiwal) where polling will be held on Sept 19.
By-elections for the Sindh Assembly constituency, PS-127 (Malir Karachi) will be held on September 8, for PP-232 (Vehari) on August 31 and in PS-14 (Jacobabad) on August 20.
Moreover, the commission has approved a plan for the annual revision of electoral rolls for 2016. This will be done through registration of new voters, especially those who have recently acquired fresh identity cards. Under the revision plan, the ECP will also overhaul the voter list, scratching out the names of deceased voters or those whose Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) have been cancelled.
A door-to-door verification exercise is expected to take the number of voters to 98 million which means an addition of five million voters because the voter count at present is a little over 93 million, the ECP media office said.
According to the plan chalked out by the ECP, the verification campaign will continue for 20 days — from August 10 to August 29 — to include holders of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) who have not been included in the voter lists of their areas.
Officials carrying out the verification will visit permanent addresses of new CNIC holders. The exercise will be followed by a 21-day process of voter list display starting on September 20. The process will see display of voters’ lists at designated display centres and offices of district election commissioners, registration officers and assistant registration officers for public inspection.
According to the official handout, a list of display centres with contact details of returning officers and additional returning officers will be shared with the media and uploaded on the commission’s official website.
A mass media campaign is also part of the plan during which people will be asked to check their vote status by sending from their mobile phones their CNIC numbers to the unique ‘8300’ messaging service.
If desired, applications for enrolment as voter, vote transfer and correction in the voter lists could be submitted on prescribed forms at the display centres or to the offices of district election commissioners, registration officers and assistant registration officers.