ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan said on Thursday it would grant permission to all election observers including national and international provided they follow the legal process.

“There is a standard operating procedure (SOP) the world over that international observers send their applications to observe elections through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, ECP spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson said that observers are part and parcel of the election process and comprehensive planning is being done for their facilitation.

Highlighting the procedure being adopted by Pakistan for the international observers, the spokesperson further said that once they are granted visas, they will seek clearance from the Ministry of Interior then the ECP will accord them accreditation.

The spokesperson was of the view that since international observers would need security, therefore such procedure is being introduced and added this is being done under the 238 of the Election Act 2017.

He further clarified that the ECP does not write letters to international observers, in fact it is their job to seek visas if anyone keen to come to Pakistan to monitor 2018 general elections.

General elections 2018 in Pakistan are around the corner as all the due arrangements being finalised by the ECP to hold elections on time in July mostly in the last week of the month.    

The ECP is working on war footing to ensure that elections are held on time. It has completed the delimitation of constituencies and the data entry of electoral rolls was in the final phase.

Also, the district returning officers (DROs), returning officers (ROs) and presiding officers had already been appointed and the training of polling staff had also been started.

The process of administering the oath to the polling staff was under way as under the Elections Act, 2017 all officials deployed during the elections, including the returning and presiding officers, as well as the security staff, were required to take an oath before the polls swearing their complete impartiality and absolute compliance to the election code of conduct.

Under the new powers conferred on the ECP by the Elections Act 2017, the election staff would be under direct control of the commission, allowing it to penalise any violators of the code of conduct. These codes include efficiency and disciplinary rules.

President Mamnoon Hussain would announce the date for the upcoming general elections next week as per section 57(1) of the Elections Act, 2017 the president is entrusted to announce the election date after consulting the ECP.

The commission would move a summary to the President proposing an election date within the next few days and confirmed that the president would make an announcement sometime next week.