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Printing of Ballot Papers Stopped in Key Constituencies

Constituencies

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) faces significant challenges as the process of printing ballot papers for certain constituencies comes to a halt due to ongoing litigation, despite prior warnings about potential delays in case of changes to electoral symbols. An ECP official confirmed the suspension of ballot-paper printing in specific constituencies, attributing the pause to legal disputes.

Moreover, the ECP has not adhered to its self-imposed deadline for releasing a final list of candidates, citing pending court cases as the reason. The electoral watchdog had issued a revised poll schedule on December 22, outlining the procedural steps leading up to the February 8 polling day. According to the schedule, the ECP was expected to allocate electoral symbols to candidates by January 13, the final step before the elections.

However, several days past the due date, the ECP has not issued the final list of candidates, nor has it amended the December 15 notification calling for the publication of a revised candidate list on January 12.

Despite completing the controversial process of symbol allocation, the final list of candidates remains pending. The ECP, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed concerns about symbols being changed through various forums and highlighted that ballot paper printing had already commenced.

Acknowledging the challenge posed by litigation, an ECP official stated that efforts were underway to manage the situation. However, each passing day exacerbates the problem, aligning with the earlier warning of potential delays in polls for certain constituencies.

The ECP, reiterating its commitment to conducting free and fair general elections, assured that all efforts are being made to resolve the issues promptly. With approximately 200 poll-related cases pending before the courts, the commission is navigating the complexities while engaging with court registrars to address the time constraints and complete necessary formalities. The release of the final list of candidates is expected in the coming days.

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