ISLAMABAD - Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Ishtiak Ahmed Khan has reiterated that the voters' turnout for the general elections would not be affected with the ongoing terrorist attacks in Pakistan, while hoping that the turnout would be more than 60 per cent.

"We're targeting 80 per cent voters turnout to make sure that at least 60 percent voters exercise their right to vote in the general elections and we've made adequate arrangements accordingly," said Ishtiaq while talking to this scribe here on Tuesday.

"We're satisfied with the election arrangements being taken for the polling day. God willing, the voters in huge number would show up at the polling stations to cast their votes," he said.

Regarding the rapidly deteriorating security situation in the wake of the ongoing spree of terrorist attacks against the political parties and the general polls' contestants apparently on daily basis, the secretary ECP said, the activities of the miscreants could not dissuade the general public from casting votes.

"Of course, security issues are there and some areas have been under security threat but that's not going to keep the voters away from exercising their right to vote. We've repeatedly asked the authorities concerned to ensure foolproof security for the political parties, the candidates as well as general public and we're determined to ensure the stringent security measures of the highest orders on the polling day to keep any untoward incident from happening. There's been an element comprising miscreants who are out to sabotage the continuity of electoral process in Pakistan. They're bound to fail. Nobody can sabotage the general elections. They would be held come what may."

Terming the polls as a defining moment in Pakistan's history, Khan said, "People are well aware of the importance of these elections. They cannot be deprived of their right to vote through cowardly coercive and intimidating tactics. We have run extensive campaigns to educate the voters about the value of their vote. Hopefully, the voters turnout on the polling day would be very encouraging." 

He further said, "The kind of feedback and response we've received from the public not only reflects their faith in the transparency and credibility of the upcoming general elections but it has, as well, strengthened our resolve to keep striving our best to conduct these polls in the most free, fair, and peaceful manner," he said.

Meanwhile, the ECP conducted a demonstration of the vote casting in the general elections in front of the representatives of the civil society and media. The exercise exhibited different procedures involving the voting method, separately conducted for vote-polling for the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies' candidates.

Speaking on the occasion, Ishtiak Khan said, the persons resorting to cast fake votes would be jailed. The presiding officers, he said, have been empowered with first class magistracy powers for three days to issue arrest warrants of those involved in foul play during the elections. He said that the presiding officers would be proceeded against, upon their failure to initiate action against violators of the ECP Code of Conduct. "The fake voting has become impossible with the introduction of sophisticated techniques. The fake vote-casters and other violators of the ECP Code of conduct would be put behind the bars. The presiding officers have been granted all the necessary powers on 10, 11 and 12 May. Even then if any presiding officer fails to take to task any foul play, he will have to face the music," he said.

Khan further informed that the chief election commissioner and ECP members would visit different constituencies during the polling day (Saturday) to inspect the general polls arrangements.