ISLAMABAD: The first phase of electioneering has started and the public wants change which should come about only through the vote, said Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim here Tuesday as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) put final electoral rolls of 84.365 million voters on display.
As the chief election commissioner spoke to the media at the Election Commission Secretariat, a few hundred metres away in the Senate, legislators sought a mechanism for deletion of some 15 million computerised national identity card holders, who have died since the introduction of the computerised national identity card but their names may have automatically became part of the electoral rolls.
Flanked by ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan, ECP members and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Tariq Malik, Justice (Retd) Ebrahim said it was a historic day as they had completed the first phase of electioneering in the country. He lauded the services rendered by all stakeholders in data compilation and printing of the electoral rolls and claimed that it was the most important document and never as authentic in the past as it was today. “It has input from all stakeholders,” he said.
The chief election commissioner, who is known for his integrity and uprightness, said: “The country’s future lies in holding free, fair and transparent general elections. It is the responsibility of all to cooperate with the Election Commission for achieving this objective.”
About the final electoral rolls, the chief election commissioner noted that though the rolls had been finalised and printed, further changes like registration of new voters, who attained the age of 18 years, and correction of the constituency numbers of voters would continue till the announcement of the general election schedule.
Justice (Reted) Ebrahim contended that out of total 84.365 million voters, the ECP had registered 47.773 million male voters and 36.591 female voters from across the country. As many as 48.3 million (27.2 million male and 21.01 million female) voters have been registered in Punjab and 18.4 million in Sindh including 10.2 million male and 8.2 million female voters.
Similarly, the ECP registered 12.06 million voters, including 6.9 million male and 5.1 million female voters, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while a total of 3.3 million (1.9 million male and 1.5 million female) voters have been registered in Balochistan.
In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), it registered a total of 1.7 million voters, including 1.12 million male and 0.55 million female voters, while the Federal Capital Territory has a total of 0.604 million voters, including 0.325 million male and 0.279 million female voters.
The chief election commissioner said that an effort has been made to make the rolls transparent, however, the voters could get corrected any mistake before announcement of the general elections. He said by sending an SMS to 8300‚ a voter could check his or her related information. He said only a voter having a computerised national identity card would be allowed to cast his/her vote.
On the occasion, the ECP secretary appealed to the provincial governments for legislation to hold local government elections, saying that the commission was ready to conduct local government elections.
The ECP secretary said that new electoral rolls had been sent to ECP offices at the district level and the ECP planned to extend them to the Union Councils. About Pakistani expatriates, he said, there are around four million registered voters abroad but new legislation is required for them to cast vote. There was a possibility that they cast their votes through postal ballot, he remarked.
On the occasion, the Nadra chairman said the authority’s database was foolproof, secure and nobody could even think of having access to it. He brushed aside the impression that over 20 million persons had been left out during the registration process.