Feb 18 polls to be held at all costs: Pak Election Commission Secretary

February 3rd, 2008 - 4:36 pm ICT by admin  

Karachi, Feb 3 (ANI): The Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Dilshad Ahmed, on Sunday said that the February 18 general elections would be held at all costs.
Addressing a news conference here after a meeting of provincial EC officials, he said two to three thousand polling stations have been set up in non-government premises, adding the most of them are located in the North West Frontier Province and Balochistan.
He also ruled out the changing of election symbols and the extension of the last date of the postal ballot issuance.
The News quoted Ahmed as saying that the Election Commission of Pakistan was confident about all electoral arrangements being in place in all four provinces of the country.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retired) Qazi Mohammad Farooq had said that the army would be deployed at the most sensitive polling stations before and during the general elections if the Election Commission of Pakistan felt that paramilitary forces were unable to maintain law and order.
Talking to journalists here on Saturday after an orientation workshop, jointly organized by the Election Commission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for district returning officers (DROs), Justice (Retired) Farooq expressed hope about provincial governments maintaining law and order.
The Daily Times, however, quoted him as saying that the Election Commission has asked for a list of the most sensitive polling stations and would decide to deploy the army if it felt it to be necessary.
The CEC said that holding peaceful, free and fair elections was the responsibility of the commission, and it has made all the needed arrangements. He disagreed with the notion that the turnout would be lower as they had launched an awareness campaign to encourage voters.
The CEC said that most of the complaints received by the commission were related to the transfer and postings of government employees. He said that those participating in the elections should realize that Pakistan is presently passing through the most sensitive and crucial stage of its history. Therefore, they should show a greater degree of maturity and responsibility during their election campaign and follow the code of conduct. (ANI)

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