ECP appoints officials for Punjab elections

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) notified the appointment of some 36 district returning officers (DROs), 297 returning officers (ROs), and 294 assistant returning officers (AROs) to ensure a smooth and fair election of the Punjab Assembly.
According to the commission, the election officials — who were selected from the bureaucracy — would be responsible for overseeing the April 30 elections in their respective districts and ensuring that the voting process was conducted in a transparent and unbiased manner. They would also be responsible for counting the votes and announcing the results. The electoral body emphasised that the selection of officials was based on their experience and competence in administration.
“The commission is committed to ensuring that the elections are free, fair, and transparent, and has taken several measures to ensure that the electoral process is conducted smoothly,” the news release issued by the ECP said. The Election Commission also urged all political parties, candidates, and voters to cooperate with the appointed officials and abide by the rules and regulations of the electoral process.
It also appealed to all stakeholders to refrain from any activities that could disrupt the electoral process or undermine the integrity of the elections. Meanwhile, the representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Intelligence Bureau and the counter-terrorism departments on Friday briefed the Election Commission on security threats and challenges.
Sources privy to the meeting told media here that all the representatives of intelligence agencies and CTDs unanimously pointed out that the time was not suitable for elections in Punjab and KP in view of the fresh wave of terrorism and intelligence reports, which suggested that more terrorist attacks couldn’t be ruled out. During the meeting, a proposal was put forward by one of the intelligence agencies’ representatives that the elections might be deferred at least for three to four months while the forces were dealing with terror.
Another representative supported the proposal, citing the presence of armed militants who had sneaked into the country from Afghanistan and were now in Punjab. They told the ECP that Pakistan was passing through a complex and difficult security situation, which underlines caution and care for public safety. Therefore, they contended that in the given situation, opting for polls in two major provinces could be very risky.