Foreign observers will not be allowed to conduct exit polls: Pak EC

December 26th, 2007 - 2:17 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Dec 26 (ANI): International observers coming to Pakistan to monitor the January 8 general elections will not be allowed to conduct exit polls, or make surprise visits or move freely wherever they want to.
“The observers will be barred from asking for comments on the spot or asking questions to voters about their favourites at the polling stations,” said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sources.
“The foreign observers will not be allowed to conduct surprise visits of polling stations, as they will have to get permission from the respective returning officers,” the sources said.
Sources said that the election staff would be fully authorised to stop the observers from taking part in activities that may interfere with the smooth process of the polls.
At least 2,000 foreign observers are expected to reach Pakistan to monitor the general elections, indicating the immense interest of the international community about the future scenario in Pakistan, they said.
Besides, there would be nearly 20,000 local observers who will be engaged in the process, the sources said.
“The foreign observers will have to follow the internationally recognised code of conduct, besides the ECP has issued guidelines for them,” the sources said.
The guidelines are spread over 150 pages and include area-wise information about constituencies, polling stations and the relevant District Returning Officers, the officials maintained.
Asked to comment on these restrictions, the Secretary of the Election Commission, Kanwar Dilshad, said that foreign observers would be restricted in the sense that they do not face or cause any security problem.
“As far as we, the ECP, are concerned, there is no restriction or bar on the observers but they will have to observe certain rules and regulations,” The News quoted Dilshad, as saying. (ANI)

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