ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet Wednesday ordered key postings and transfers to ensure free and fair polls on July 25.

The cabinet approved posting and transfer of chief secretaries and inspectors general of all the four provinces to ensure impartial and transparent elections, said an official statement.

This month, former Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk took oath as caretaker Prime Minister after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz completed its five-year term on May 31.

The end of the five-year term of the PML-N government paved way for a caretaker set-up to conduct general election. President Mamnoon Hussain had approved the date of July 25 for the general election, which will see more than 100 million voters to vote for both the national and provincial assemblies.

The PML-N, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf PTI are aiming to form the next federal government. The three major parties have expressed the expectations that Mulk will oversee the general election as a neutral interim PM.

The 342 members of the National Assembly is elected by three methods - 272 are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, 60 are reserved for females and 10 for ethnic and religious minority groups, both sets of reserved seats use proportional representation with a 5 per cent electoral threshold.

This proportional number, however, is based on the number of seats won rather than votes cast. General election will be held under new delimitation of constituencies which was result of 2017 census.

The official statement said that Akbar Hussain Durrani, Azam Salman Khan, Akhtar Nazir, and Naveed Kamran Baloch were appointed as Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively.

The cabinet also gave approval to the appointment of Inspectors General of Police in all the four provinces. Kaleem Imam was appointed in Punjab, Amjad Javed Saleemi in Sindh, Mohammed Tahir in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Mohsin Hassan Butt in Balochistan.

“These appointments were made after consultations with the Election Commission of Pakistan and the provincial governments,” said the statement.

A participant of the meeting told The Nation that PM Mulk vowed not to compromise on neutrality. “He asked the whole team to ensure the job is done on July 25 and everybody is satisfied,” the minister said. He said the PM and the cabinet agreed that the whole nation expected fair election and the caretakers should not disappoint them.

Last day, PM Mulk said the caretaker government was firmly committed to holding free, fair and peaceful elections on schedule. In a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammed Raza, the Prime Minister reiterated that the caretaker government will provide all possible assistance to the Election Commission towards holding free, fair and peaceful elections.

The ECP had earlier written to the Establishment Division for replacement of the incumbent top provincial officers and bringing new officers by June 13. PM Mulk summoned a special cabinet meeting to approve the ECP demand.

Under the constitution, the primary responsibility of the caretaker government is to hold elections on time, and to ensure the day-to-day affairs of government continue apace during the interim between successive governments.

 

SHAFQAT ALI