Senate polls are to be held as per past practice, says ECP

ISLAMABAD: A day after the Supreme Court ruled that upcoming Senate elections would continue to be held through a secret ballot as per the Constitution, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Tuesday that polls on March 3 would be held “as per past practice.”
“Due to time constraint, ensuing Senate Election scheduled for 3rd March, 2021, will be conducted as provided in the Constitution and Law as per past practice,” the Election Commission said in a statement.
In its statement on Tuesday, the ECP said that it has decided to constitute a three-member committee to gather input on the use of technology in the Senate elections, saying it would prepare recommendations based on the input within four weeks. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Election Commission, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Tuesday.
The meeting noted that the Commission is taking all possible steps and measures to fulfil its constitutional duty to check that corrupt practices in the Senate elections are guarded against. In light of the Supreme Court’s opinion, the Commission decided to constitute a committee to prepare recommendations regarding use of technology in Senate elections within a period of four weeks.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made arrangements to ensure free, fair and transparent Senate elections.
A vigilance committee has been established which will provide all relevant record and information as well as conduct inquiry if the need arises to the Election Commission. The committee comprises members from the ECP, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA). The aim is to do away with the corrupt practices in the Senate elections. The vigilance committee can be contacted via email
A complaint management system has been set up so that the public can send their complaints online to the website of Election Commission of Pakistan.
The Election Commission has also established a special monitoring cell to stop corrupt practices in the Senate elections. This cell will remain operational round the clock.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the chief election commissioner is personally monitoring the Senate elections and the people can directly send their complaints regarding corrupt practices in the elections to his email address Complaints can also be sent to the secretary Election Commission at his email address and fax number 051-9203583.
The chief election commissioner also held a meeting with the chairman Pakistan telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and sought their proposals to end corrupt practices in the elections.
Other steps taken by the ECP to ensure transparency in Senate elections include release of code of conduct, getting affidavits from the candidates and establishment of Digital Facilitation Centre.
Polling on the 37 vacant seats of the Senate will be held today (Wednesday). Polling will start at the Parliament House Islamabad and the provincial assemblies of Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at 09:00am and will continue till 5:00pm without any break.
All the eleven candidates for Senate from Punjab have already been elected unopposed. Two senators will be elected from the federal capital, eleven from Sindh and twelve each from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In the federal capital, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of PTI and Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani of PPP are vying for the general seat whilst for the women seat, Fozia Arshad of PTI and Farzana Kausar of PML (N) are in the field.
Twenty-five candidates are in the field for twelve seats of Senate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, twenty six from Balochistan and seventeen from Sindh province. – TLTP

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