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Wednesday February 01, 2023

CEC Raja says ECP not against anyone

"Action was taken against those who tried to create chaos," CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja says

December 07, 2022
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja addresses the National Voters Day ceremony in Islamabad on December 7, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja addresses the "National Voters Day" ceremony in Islamabad on December 7, 2022. — YouTube/PTVNewsLive

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) neither has any favourites nor is it against anyone, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja said Wednesday.

The CEC attended the "National Voters Day" ceremony along with four other ECP members organised at the electoral body's office in the federal capital today.

On the occasion, CEC Raja termed the local body elections as the "most important" for the country. "The election commission continues to strive for transparency in the electoral process and has improved the monitoring system."

"Action was taken against those who tried to create chaos and from workers to party chiefs for violating the code of conduct," the commissioner added.

The code of conduct, he said, was not implemented before and the provincial governments would change the local government laws, adding that the local elections were carried out with the efforts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Cantt.

The CEC further said that the people have gained confidence in elections, the democratic process and the electoral body after the commission took these steps.

Talking about the use of technology in the electoral process, Raja said that the election commission supports it, however, the technology should be the one that all stakeholders agree on.

He said that the commission has faced criticism regarding the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), however, it has not opposed the EVMs or overseas Pakistanis' right to vote. "We cannot carry the electoral process in haste as it might become controversial."

"The Election Commission is trying to conduct a pilot programme for the use of EVMs in the upcoming by-elections and municipal elections," the CEC said, adding that a firm has been hired for overseas voting.

CEC Raja also said that the commission has set up a project management unit for the use of technology. "The Election Commission, after much research, made recommendations to the senate which were accepted by parliament."

He said that the process of local government elections has been completed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the LG polls will be conducted in Islamabad on December 31 while the second phase of local bodies elections in Sindh will take place on January 15, 2023. 

Moreover, the polling for local body elections in Balochistan's flood-affected areas will be held on Sunday.