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"Elections cannot happen within 3 months": Pakistan poll body tells Imran Khan

As per reports, the senior election commission official stated that the election preparation would require nearly six months. 

Elections cannot happen within 3 months: Pakistan poll body tells Imran Khan  - adt
Islamabad, First Published Apr 5, 2022, 1:47 PM IST

The Pakistan Election Commission on Tuesday expressed its inability to hold the general elections in the coming three months, mentioning the legal, constitutional and logistical challenges, as per PTI quoting Pakistan daily Dawn.

The senior election commission official stated that the election preparation would require nearly six months because the seats were increased, due to the delimitation of constituencies, particularly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and updating the electoral rolls per district and constituencies was a significant challenge. 

While talking to a newspaper, the Pakistan EC informed that the delimitation is a time-consuming exercise, where the law provides for one month simply to invite objections. As per the official, there are other challenges, including procurement of election material, arrangement for ballot papers, appointments, and training of the polling staff. 

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As per the law, the official explained that the ballot paper with watermarks is used, which is not available in the country; the papers have to be imported. The official further explained that instead of a watermark, the EC proposed amending the law to provide ballot papers with "security features."

Inviting bids, and scrutinizing finance and technical quotations, as per the official, require some time, and nearly 20 lakh stamp pads would be needed for around one lakh polling stations. 

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The EC official also added that the law requiring EVMs (electronic voting machines) and granting voting rights to abroad Pakistanis also held the field and needed to be repealed.

The Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), an independent non-government body, has outlined multiple constitutional, legal, and practical hurdles to holding an early election.

The organisation, in its statement, stated that the public confusion and political divisions that have already emerged as a result could potentially translate into violent expression. Political parties bear a significant duty for managing their workers and ensuring that political disagreements do not devolve into violence, particularly in the run-up to an early election. 

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Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Sunday dissolved the national assembly under Prime Minister Imran Khan's direction. The action came after the national assembly refused the no-confidence motion against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) ruling alliance. 

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition pushed by the opposition challenging the rejection of the no-confidence motion and dissolution of the national assembly.

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