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Sunday Jul 01 2018
Web Desk

ECP reminds Punjab government to provide security to candidates

Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took notice on Sunday of the reported roughing up of a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate in Multan and directed the Punjab government to provide security to election candidates in Multan, Narowal and elsewhere.

In a letter to Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, the ECP secretary has said that free and fair polls can only be achieved in a conducive law and order environment. 

The letter also states that the relevant officials were made aware earlier of threats to political leaders and contesting candidates. 

"It appears, unfortunately, that concerned authorities have yet to take the bull by the horns," the letter reads. 

Over the weekend, a PML-N candidate in Multan claimed in a social media post that he was beaten up by security officials and forced to change his vote. 

"Our candidate in Multan Rana Iqbal Siraj was slapped and threatened of dire consequences," PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif said Saturday night from London. 

Nawaz had urged the caretaker prime minister and chief election commissioner to take notice of threats to candidates.

Later, PML-N's Siraj explained in another video that the entire event was a result of misunderstanding. 

Printing of ballot papers begins

Moreover, printing of ballot papers for General Election 2018 began on Sunday under the supervision of the army.

The ballot papers are being printed at three printing presses across the country — Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.  

The ECP had imported papers for the printing of ballot papers to ensure transparency.

According to sources, 210 million ballot papers will be printed with more than Rs2 billion being spent on the exercise, making it the most expensive venture in the history of the country's elections.

Sources said the cost of a single ballot paper comes to around Rs10. 

The ballot papers are said to carry a watermark, something which none of the previous papers had.

The papers will also be printed in “round figures”, meaning if a polling station has 1,201 voters, 1,300 papers will be printed, the sources added.

Political campaigns today

With just 24 days to the election, campaigning is beginning with rallies scheduled across the country today. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan is expected to address party workers at a rally in Bannu today. Imran is contesting the election scheduled for July 25 from NA-35, Bannu, along with four other seats across the country. 

Furthermore, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman will address his supporters in Dadu through hologram technology while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will host an inaugural event for its new office in NA-127, Lahore — the constituency of former prime Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz. 

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also took to the streets of Rawalpindi in a horse carriage last night as part of his election campaign.