Free and fair: Door-to-door verification of electoral rolls comes knocking in G-B

Campaign to begin from August 1, says election commissioner.


Shabbir Mir July 19, 2014

GILGIT:


The Election Commission of Gilgit-Baltistan has announced it will conduct a door-to-door verification process to ensure that the computerised electoral rolls are error-free.


NADRA completed the lists after it had been assigned the task by the G-B government which will step down to hand over power to its successor either late this year or early next year.

“The campaign will start from August 1,” said G-B Election Commissioner Ajmal Bhatti while speaking at a workshop on Friday evening. The event was organised by the election commission to share the draft of electoral rolls and seek feedback from participants.

Bhatti said a considerable amount of time would be needed to complete the process as certain remote areas and valleys are difficult to access.

“Any flaws therein will be removed during the exercise,” he assured those present at the workshop, which included Chief Minister Mehdi Shah and speaker Wazir Baig. NADRA Director General Brigadier Nisar as well as senior officials from the election commission and NADRA, Islamabad were also in attendance.

According to the election commission, the number of registered voters in G-B was 594,955, while there were 85,760 registered voters in Gilgit district alone.

“The election will be fair and chances of rigging minimised,” said the NADRA chief.

Chief Minister Mehdi Shah hoped elections would be free and fair and acceptable to all parties. “We are in no mood to hold polls this year. We will think about it next year,” he added.

Walkout

Calling the workshop a ‘party show’ by the Pakistan Peoples Party, President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz regional chief Hafeezur Rahman stormed out in anger.

He pointed out that Mehdi Shah, Wazir Baig and another minister occupied the stage and never allocated any seats for NADRA or election commission officials. “I request that a representative from the election commission or NADRA be invited on stage before starting the process,” said Hafeezur Rahman.

“If you don’t want to participate, you can leave,” the G-B chief minister shot back.

The PML-N leader was followed by All Pakistan Muslim League regional chief Karim Khan and nationalist leader Nawaz Khan Naji. They accused Shah of wrongfully crediting the G-B government for completing the process.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.

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