The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has made an alert that the exact poll date may have to be delayed. The ECP has mentioned the reason behind the delay which stated as “If the orders keep coming for the change in the election symbols already allocated to the candidates.”
Without mentioning about the court, the ECP in the statement added that the election symbols were being changed without through various forums.
Following the allotment of the election symbols, the ECP added that it had already ordered the printing of the ballot papers to the three printing corporations and the printing work had begin a day before.
It stated that, “If the process of changing the election symbols continues the same way, there is a possibility of delay in the elections, as the ballot papers will have to be reprinted for which time is already limited and on the other hand, the special paper available for the ballot papers will also be lost.”
The commission added about over 33% spike in the number of candidates for the upcoming general elections, as a total of 18,059 are in the run as compared to the 11,700 candidates who had contested the 2018 polls.
In the 2018 elections, 800-tonne paper was used for printing 220 million ballot papers, while this time the estimate is 2,070-tonne paper for printing of 260m ballot papers specifically after the update of the electoral rolls in the backdrop of the delimitation of the constituencies.
It is to be noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan has made repeated instruction to the officials that the election symbols will not be changed once the printing will begin. Whereas, the statement added that, it was also being considered that if the trend of changing the election symbols did not stop, there would be no other option but to postpone the elections in such constituencies.
The ECP earlier barred district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs) from changing election symbols allocated to electoral candidates for the upcoming elections.