To commemorate the First General Elections for Provincial Assemblies in the country, the Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp of 20-Paisa denomina-tion on December 17, 1970.
Elections to Provincial Assemblies namely, East Pakistan, the Punjab, Sind, the N.W.F.P. and Baluchistan will be held on 17th of December, 1970. A total number of 56.5 millions of regis-tered voters will participate in this election. The electorate will be electing 300 general seats in East Pakistan, 180 in the Punjab, 60 in Sind, 20 in Baluchistan and 40 In N.W.F.P. There will also be reserved seats for women, 10 for East Pakistan, 6 for the Punjab, 2 for Sind, for Baluchistan and 2 for the N.W.F.P., who will be elected by the elected general members of the Provincial Assemblies of the respective Province. (Elections to 18 constituencies in East Pakistan which have been badly affected by the devastating cyclonic storm and tidal bore on the night of 12th and 13th November, 1970 will, however, be held later).
For a number of reasons, this elec-tion has rare significance for Pakistan. Through this election, the country will enter into a new democratic era.
The Election Commission, had to wade through a series of responsible tasks, namely, the preparation of elec-toral rolls, delimitation of constituen-cies, announcements of election sche-dule, nomination of candidates, their scrutiny, hearing of appeals, and pre-paration of final list of contesting candidates before the election date i.e., 17th of December, 1970 could be reach-ed. With utmost expedition and humanly possible accuracy, these jobs were done.
The total number of voters register-ed in the country stands at a little over 5,65,00,000. Out of this total number, 3, 13,00,000 voters have been registered in East Pakistan and 2,52,00,000 in West Pakistan. According to all electoral standards, the proportion which this electoral strength bears to adult popu-lation should be taken as ideal.
It will be quite pertinent to mention here that the right of franchise has been extended to some of the tribal areas in N.W.FP. and Baluchistan where, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the electorate of these areas will elect their representatives on direct vote.
To make the election free and fair, the Election Commission has adopted a number of measures; some of them will be introduced for the first time in Pakistan. They are, mainly, the intro-duction of single ballot box, marking of ballot papers in secret and insertion of the same in the presence of the election officials and party agents and use of indelible ink.
To build up a healthy political life in the country, the Election Commis-sion has decided to allocate symbols for the candidates from political parties, which are not allowed to be used by individual candidates. For the purpose of allocating symbols to political parties and also to individuals contesting as independents, the Election Commission has prescribed a total number of 55 symbols.
Postal ballot system has, also for the first time, been introduced in Pakis-tan, enabling Government servants (including members of the Armed Forces); holders of public offices, wives of such Government servants and hold-ers of public offices and persons in jail or under legal custody to vote by post. This facility has also been extended to Persons who have been appointed for election duties.
Elections to the Provincial Assem-blies will be held on 17th December, 1970 and official results of the count will be known within a couple of days following the election. 1864 candidates are contesting for 300 seats in East Pakistan; 1317 for 180 seats in the Pun-jab; 579 for 60 seats in Sind; 319 for 40 seats in N.W.F.P. and 164 for 20 seats in Baluchistan.. (The East Pakistan figures which include the existing numbers re-lating to the cyclone affected constitu-encies may eventually be some what different).