ISLAMABAD: The election body failed to exercise its legal and constitutional powers to enforce election rules, as candidates and political parties committed various violations in the recently held local government polls.
These views were expressed by speakers at a session to evaluate performance of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), organised by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) here on Wednesday.
Although the ECP spent millions of rupees on upgradation of equipment, education of voters as well as training of poll worker, the turnout in the LG polls remained below 30 per cent.
ECP Additional Secretary Fida Muhammad said that the voter turnout remained low especially in urban areas including in the federal capital, which saw the first ever LG elections.
He said that the turnout remained low especially in posh sectors of Islamabad despite the fact that most educated people live there.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs Shafqat Mahmood, Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan Muslim League-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Parliamentary Secretary Rana Afzal Khan, officials and a large number of citizens also attended the session.
Alvi said that the ECP needed innovative solutions to achieve its goal of facilitating overseas Pakistani to exercise their right of franchise.
He said that the overseas Pakistanis were asset of the country and they should not be deprived from voting rights. The speakers also highlighted capacity issues and institutional independence of the ECP.
They also endorsed recommendation proposed by the PILDAT for giving free-hand to the ECP as an independent statutory body.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2016.
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