Pakistan elections likely to be held July 25-27

Election Commission of Pakistan says it has finalised security plan for 2018 elections

Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday recommended that the 2018 general elections be held between July 25 and July 27.

The commission outlined details of the proposed poll dates in a summary forwarded to President Mamnoon Hussain.

The ECP requested the president to settle on a date between July 25 and July 27 under Section 57(1) of the Elections Action Act 2017.

As the current government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, a caretaker government will take over for the general elections.

The caretaker prime minister will lead the interim set-up and manage day-to-day governance affairs.

As per the Constitution of Pakistan, the process to select a caretaker set-up is under way with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi holding talks with leader of Opposition Khurshid Shah.

The prime responsibility of the caretaker government is to ensure that the elections are held in a transparent manner and the basic functions of the government continue without an elected set-up in place.

Reviewing preparations for the general elections, ECP has also directed provincial chief secretaries to ensure security of returning officers and polling staff.

District returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs) have been appointed, mostly from the lower judiciary, whereas the assistant returning officers (AROs) were selected from civil bureaucracy.

As many as 86,436 polling stations will be set up for the general elections 2018, including 48,667 in Punjab and 18,647 in Sindh, 14,655 polling stations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and nearly 4,467 stations in Balochistan, according to the polling scheme announced by the ECP.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also finalised a security plan for the upcoming general elections which will soon be approved after consultations from all provincial stakeholders.

The ECP has decided to seek assistance of the Pakistan Army and Rangers to ensure the smooth polling process especially at sensitive polling stations. Police personnel will also be deployed inside and outside polling stations to ensure implementation of the ECP’s code of conduct.

Earlier, the chief secretaries of all four provinces assured the electoral body of extending every possible cooperation and assistance when they were asked to give a detailed briefing on the situation of security in their respective provinces.

The election schedule is expected to be issued in the first week of June. ECP spokesman Altaf Hussain earlier said that the ECP would welcome all observers, including foreigners for Pakistan’s general elections.

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