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Monday, May 20, 2013

Pakistan General Election 2013 (2013-09)

General Election – 2013 Commemorative Postage Stamp May 11, 2013:- Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally – either directly or through elected representatives in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. The nature of democracy is that elected officials are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office. For that reason most democratic constitutions provide that elections are held at fixed regular intervals. An election is a formal decision making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Electoral systems are the detailed constitutional arrangements and voting systems that convert the vote into political decision.
2.            A critical element in maintaining election integrity is sound management of elections by a credible election management body. To be credible, the electoral administration has to be impartial and have the institutional capacity to hold free and fair elections. In a well-entrenched democracy, the institution that administers elections is usually taken for granted. It is universally accredited fact that an election is not only  the largest and most complex logistical operation that a country ever undertakes in peacetime, but also one that may affect the nature of the government and society at a fundamental level. An operation of such magnitude requires both professional managers and skilled technicians.
3.            In view of the above, it is worth mentioning here that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is fully cognizant of its constitutional obligations towards conduct of free, fair and transparent elections and in this regard, ECP is determined to take each and every step to achieve this goal. ECP has introduced many reforms in the electoral process because electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place, or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems. ECP has taken the initiative and decided to efficaciously plan various phases of elections right from the preparation of electoral rolls up to the introduction of state of the art electoral technologies in the electoral process. This decision is, without any exaggeration, a right step at right time in the right direction with Right leadership at the helm of affairs.
4.            After the dissolution of assemblies, the ECP issued schedule for the General Elections 2013 according to which polling will be held on 11-05-2013. After the promulgation of 18th Amendments, permanent independent Election Commission was constituted and General Elections-2013 is the first election which is being conducted by permanent Election Commission. ECP has taken a number of steps for the conduct of free and fair elections in the country and forthcoming elections will be unique in many aspects and nation is going to witness tangible change in the electioneering process in the country, a brief epitome of which is as under:
a.       Issuance of various unprecedented directives amply depicts the resolve of ECP for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections.
b.      Availability of an authentic and credible voters’ list is one of the pre-requisites for holding free, fair and transparent elections in Ge-2013, first time in the history of Pakistan, fully computerized electoral rolls with photograph will be used.
c.       With the consultant of all stakeholders, ECP has finalized Code of Conduct for the political parties and contesting candidates.
d.      First time in the history of Pakistan, Result Management System has been  introduced which is being used by all Returning Officers.
e.      ECP has launched SMS service whereby voter’s information including name, serial number at which his/her name is written in the electoral rolls and the name and location of the polling station will be provided to voters. This voting information can be obtained by each voter by sending his/her CNIC number on “8300”.
f.        The Judicial Officers have been appointed as District Returning Officers / Returning Officers.
g.       Two-members monitoring team in each national assembly constituency and its corresponding provincial assembly constituencies have been deployed with a mandate to report to the DRO / RO regarding violation of code of conduct and teams will also assess the election expenses in respect of each contesting candidate during campaign period.
h.      The DROs/ROs have been invested with special powers of Magistrate First Class enabling them to consider and initiate action on the reports of the monitoring teams, fix the responsibility and impose appropriate penalty on the violators through summary trials.
i.         Allowing observation of election process by national and International observers enhances the transparency in the election process. ECP has welcomed National and International observers to observe the campaign period, polling day proceedings and post-poll election process.
j.        Identification cards with photograph are being issued to the presiding officer of each polling station which he will be obliged to wear on his chest during the polling process.
k.       ECP has decided to use ‘Tamper-evident bag’ for sending result of count at the polling station on Form-XIV by the Presiding Officer to the Returning Officer and for transmitting the consolidated result in Form-XVI and XVII to the ECP by the Returning Officer.
l.         In each district, a contingency plan has been prepared by the District Police Officer by categorizing polling stations in category-A (most sensitive), category-B (sensitive) and category-C (normal). Police efforts of maintaining law and order in teach constituency will be reinforced by deploying Rangers / FC at sensitive polling stations. In addition, the army personnel will also be deployed at the polling stations wherever required.
m.    In order to ensure quick disposal of election petitions in accordance with law, retired District & Sessions Judges have been appointed as Election Tribunals who will dispose of election petitions by hearing the same on day to day basis.
n.      Effective and transparent mechanisms for dealing with complaints promote the accountability of the electoral management body and can assists in enhancing the acceptability of election outcomes by political participants and the public in general. Hence, ECP has devised complaint managements systems through which complaints are being managed on fast track basis.
o.      In context of alleged complaints of bogus voting in the polling stations during previous elections, the ECP has decided that the electoral rolls with photographs will be used during General Elections 2013.These electoral rolls will be provided to the presiding officers and voters will also be required to put their thumb impression in the blank column adjacent to their photograph.
p.      For the purpose of imposing thumb impressions, magnetized ink will be used which is well known for its security features and clarity of thumb impressions. The electoral rolls with photograph and thumb impressions will help facilitate smooth conduct of poll and it will also help the election tribunals to resolve the election disputes regarding bogus voting at the polling stations as these electoral rolls can be used for Automatic Fingerprint Analysis System (AFIS).

On the occasion of General Election-2013, Pakistan Post is issuing a commemorative postage Stamp of Rs.8/- denomination on May 11, 2013.