FAFEN emphasises legal prerequisites for credible elections


ISLAMABAD: As the country braces for the general elections on February 8, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) called upon all election stakeholders to make collective efforts to ensure the credibility of the polls.

In a statement, the electoral watchdog urged all election stakeholders to ensure that the voters can freely cast their ballots on February 8, 2024 and subsequent processes of counting, tabulation and consolidation are conducted in an entirely transparent manner in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017.

“The much-awaited general elections are crucially important for Pakistan to ensure political stability, which is a prerequisite for social and economic development,” the statement said.

The elections will be held following two years of political entanglement and uncertainties that have led to an atmosphere of polarisation and communal stress that does not augur well for an already-struggling democracy.

“A credible election is, therefore, essential that can inspire confidence of all political parties, and particularly the Pakistani people,” it added.

Despite the issues of level playing field raised by multiple political parties, the FAFEN noted, the fact that all major political parties are still in the run bodes well for democracy, and may be indicative of their confidence in the electoral process.

In view of the criticality of the upcoming elections, FAFEN has particularly urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), political parties and the contesting candidates to reinforce and reassert the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017 and the Election Rules, 2017.

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All is set for holding general elections in Pakistan, scheduled for February 8, 2024, with over 128 million male and female voters expected to exercise their voting rights.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 5,121 candidates are in the race for the National Assembly seats, of which 4,807 are males and 312 females. Two transgenders are also contesting the polls.

For the four provincial assemblies of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Balochistan, a total of 12,695 candidates are contesting for the polls, out of which 12,123 are males and 570 are women.

There are a total of 128,585,760 registered voters in the country, out of which Punjab has the most, 73, 207,896. Sindh comes second with 26,994,769 registered voters while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa third with 21,928,119 voters. Balochistan has 5,371,947 registered voters while Pakistan s capital Islamabad has 1,083,029 voters.

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