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Election Support Group meeting held on 24th February 2012

Islamabad: A meeting with the Election Support Group (ESG) held today on 24th February 2012 in the Election Commission Secretariat, Islamabad under the chairmanship of Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Secretary ECP. The meeting was attended by the representatives of ESG’s and other senior officers of the ECP. The ESG is a group of Diplomatic Missions, International Donor Organizations and Implementing Partners working to strengthen all aspects of electoral environment in Pakistan. The Group consists of representatives of British High Commission, Canadian High Commission, Embassy of Netherlands, Embassy of USA, Royal Norwegian Embassy, European Commission, DFID, IFES, NDI, SDC, TAF, UNDP and USAID. Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan explained the goals and objectives of the ECP’s five-year Strategic Plan 2010-14 in detail, throwing light on each goal and objective, progress planned and progress achieved within the period of less than two years. He told the participants that ECP has provided and matched its own data with NADRA to compare it with its civil registry so that to reach on a credible and error-free electoral rolls. Moreover, the preliminary electoral rolls (PER) will be put on more than fifty thousand display centres on 29th February till 20th March 2012 to receive all sorts of claims, corrections and objections. And SMS facility, which ECP is introducing for the first time in the democratic histories of the world, is also going to be functional on 29thFebruary 2012 i-e during display period. The Secretary further informed that it is also for the first time that the enlistment of names in the electoral rolls would continue till the announcement of election schedule. A wide-ranging electronic media campaign will be launched to educate and create awareness in general public. The Secretary said it is a matter of national pride that we are preparing the electoral rolls-2011 and all the expenses are made by the Government of Pakistan. He said that unscrupulous printing of ballot papers is discouraged with the making of specialized ballot papers having secret security features like water mark etc. To avoid impersonation, we are preparing electoral rolls having photographs and thumb impression. Due to the non-availability of population census report, it was not possible for the ECP to deal with the issue of delimitation; however, the ECP has directed PECs to complete the process of re-description/delimitations of Karachi and other provinces. To control over the election’s expenses, Ishtiaq Ahmed khan informed the participants that we are already working on it following even the best practices adopted by Indian Election Commission. The Indian EC gets help of district income tax officers while the contesting candidates maintain separate accounts for the elections related expense. To make the election process upto the public expectations, the Commission banned any visit of the political office bearers even the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers or Federal or Provincial Ministers or the Advisors to make any announcement in the constituency where the election is to be held. The Secretary ECP told that the training of five thousand staff is going to be started in a very near future with coordination of UNDP. Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director of PILDAT said that the ECP has never been witnessed so fair in spending money on its constitutional obligation as we witness it today, so it is a high time to address all the issues hindering the way towards perfection. The Secretary appreciated the role of all organizations saying they have been cooperative throughout and we hope their cooperation would always come to help us achieve our national goals. For more information, contact: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Election Commission of Pakistan Secretariat Election House, Constitution Avenue G-5/2, Islamabad Tel: +9251 920 1975, +9251 920 6062 Fax: +9251 920 5402, +9251 920 5300

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