Apr 242013
Tahir Hasan Khan
Thursday, April 25, 2013
From Print Edition



Authorities of the provincial election commission recommended the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday to allow the political parties and their candidates to transport voters to polling stations on the polling day, officials said.


The provincial election commission authorities made the recommendation after district authorities warned that the turnout might be affected if voters could not reach polling stations for lack of transport.


The ECP has restrained the political parties, candidates and their supporters from providing transport to voters on May 11, the polling day. In rural areas, polling stations are usually at far-off places, and poor people cannot afford transport to get there.


The officials pointed out that in the previous elections the voter turnout was about 30 percent even when the candidates were not barred from providing transport to voters.


The provincial authorities also believed that it would be difficult to persuade voters to come to polling stations on their own.


They said restrictions on the candidates to contact voters and provide them with their election cards and information on polling stations and how they could cast their ballots might also affect the turnout.


The authorities and political parties are concerned that the restrictions on this healthy and democratic trend will harm the election culture. They have asked the ECP to ease the restrictions in the interest of the election culture.


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