LAHORE - The spending by the Election Commission of Pakistan on field offices in Punjab has increased by 300 percent over five years. The spending increased to Rs2.607 billion in 2018 against Rs643 million in 2013.

According to data of Election Commission of Pakistan, these are the funds allocated only to the District Returning Officers and Returning Officers in field offices in Punjab provinces for the conduct of general elections being held on July 25, 2018. These expenses do not include other major spending like ballot papers printing, their transportation, ink, stamps and other material which is also costing billions of rupees.

The field offices expenses include postage and telegraph, transportations of goods, POL charges, office stationary and duty allowances and wages.

Figure shows that duty allowance of the polling staff is the major expense which was Rs517 million in general elections of 2013 but it was increased to Rs2.314 billion in general elections 2018. The expenses on transportation of goods was increased from Rs121 million in 2013 election to Rs243 million in 2018 elections while POL charges were increased in five years from Rs22,56000 to Rs23900,000. The expenses on postage and telegraph were increased to Rs956000 in 2018 polls from Rs339000 spent in elections of 2013, five years ago. Likewise, spending on office stationary was risen to Rs9560,000 from Rs752000 during 2013-2018 elections in Punjab, a huge jump of over 1200 percent.

The chief election commissioner Punjab told The Nation that as many 6000 presiding officers, 4500 polling staff and 2000 attendants have been deputed in Punjab for the conduct of elections 2018. He said that DROs will be 37 while returning officers are 421 and assistant ROs are more than 850 in Punjab to conduct the polls. According to him, registered voters in Punjab are more than 61 million including 34 millions male voters and 27 million female voters. Moreover, there are 1634 national assembly candidates while 4018 candidates are contesting elections for Punjab Assembly seats in the province.