Cost of holding next polls to be Rs 47 billion

ISLAMABAD – The cost of holding General Elections has increased by 261.52pc in a span of just ten years.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has estimated the cost for upcoming 2023 general elections will be Rs 47 billion; official sources confirmed The Nation Saturday. The cost of the general elections has witnessed Rs 34 billion increases during the last 10 years, the sources said. Source disclosed that the total estimated expenses in 2013 general elections were 13 billion, However, it was jacked up to Rs 31 billion in 2018 elections.

A source on the condition of anonymity said that fundamental reasons for the increase in the amount of general elections was including inflation, increase in the number of voters, polling stations and use of technology.

When asked a question about the expenditure of early elections in the country, the source replied that the cost of elections would be the same whether it is early elections or timely.

Source further said that for general election voters, ballot papers, election material, election officials, and transportations will all be almost the same now and after one year. He said that it was the duty of the government to provide a budget for elections because the funds are not in the hands of the ECP. It must be noted that when apex court asked whether the ECP would be ready to hold election in 90 days, Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja explained that despite repeated requests to the government to allow delimitation of the constituencies, it could not be held in time. He told the court that the commission would take a minimum of four months to conduct the delimitation and another 90 days for the general elections. Earlier, PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that they will be going for fresh elections in the country after electoral reforms and amendments to accountability laws.

Similarly, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that elections in the country would be held after the incumbent coalition government implements two important reforms including “electoral reforms” and “amends the National Accountability Bureau” (NAB) laws. PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz  and many senior leadership of the party also hinted to go for  early elections in the country.

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