ISLAMABAD - Making the preparatory arrangements for the next week presidential election final, the Election commission of Pakistan (ECP) has declared the two eventual contestants as validly nominated candidates for the poll while having 1,200 ballot papers printed.

The ballot papers have been dispatched from the Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) office to the ECP Secretariat in Islamabad and the provincial election commissions (PECs) in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar to be sent to the Senate, National Assembly and provincial assemblies on the polling day (Tuesday).

Moreover, the Election commission of Pakistan has issued instructions for the voters (lawmakers) regarding the polling day, which ask the voters not to carry mobile phones into the Parliament and the provincial assemblies that have been declared polling stations for the presidential election.

The decision on banning mobile phones in the polling stations is taken to keep the voters away from any external influence during the voting process, Election commission of Pakistan officials said.

Moreover, the voters would not be allowed to leave the polling rooms till the completion of the voting process.

On Saturday, the presidential poll contestant from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Iqbal Zafar Jhagra appeared before the commission to have his candidature withdrawn in favour of his co-party leader and the presidential probable Mamnoon Hussain. Following this, the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, in his capacity as Returning Officer, notified Hussain and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Justice (Retd) Wajih-ud-Din Ahmad as the two final election contenders.

Earlier on Friday, the CEC had rejected the nomination papers of 21 candidates including Senator Raza Rabbani from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who had not shown up at the commission in connection with the scrutiny of his nomination papers, as part of the PPP’s decision to boycott the presidential election in protest of a Supreme Court decision.

Following the announcement of presidential election schedule last Tuesday, the Director General (Elections) at ECP Syed Aher Afgan had written to the secretaries National Assembly, Senate and the provincial assemblies to summon the parliament’s joint sessions as well as the provincial assemblies sessions with regard to the election of new president ahead of the polling day. Previously, these sessions were scheduled on August 5 and 6 (polling day) but in the wake of revising the presidential election date from August 6 to July 30, the parliament and assemblies sessions would be held on the coming Monday and Tuesday (July 29-30). The parliamentary resolutions for the presidential elections would be passed in the NA and Senate on Monday.

Moreover, the Election commission of Pakistan on Wednesday had ordered the PCP to print 1,200 copies of the ballot papers for the presidential elections.

The printing was reportedly completed on Saturday evening following which the ballot papers were sent to the Election commission of Pakistan offices.

On the instructions of CEC/RO, the ballot papers would be made available to the presiding officers on the polling day. The Presidential Rules 1988 grant the RO the powers regarding the appointment of the POs and the provision of ballot papers and ballot boxes and performance of related procedures during the presidential election.

The CEC has appointed the chief justices of all the five high courts as POs for the presidential elections to perform respective duties in the Senate, NA and four provincial assemblies during the polling day.

“The returning officer shall appoint a presiding officer to conduct the poll with the assistance of such officers as he may, with the approval of the returning officer, appoint,” Section 10 (1) of the Presidential Rules 1988 states.

Section 11 (1) reads, “The returning officer shall supply sufficient number of ballot papers to the presiding officers.”

Section12 says, “The returning officer shall provide the presiding officers with such number of ballot boxes approved by him as may be necessary.”

The 1,200 ballot papers have been printed considering the electoral college for the presidential election comprises of 1,081 of the total 1,136 voters. Additional ballot papers have been printed to replace those ballot papers that may be damaged or misprinted during the printing process.

The NA has 324 of 342 voters, Senate; 103 of 104 voters, Punjab Assembly; 352 of 371, Sindh Assembly; 121 of 130, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly; 120 of 124, and Balochistan Assembly; 61 of 65 voters, for the presidential election.

As per the presidential poll’s constitutional requirement, the number of votes polled in the provincial assemblies would be 61 each (equivalent to the strength of Balochistan Assembly), which, combined with NA and Senate voters’ number, makes 671 votes to be counted for electing new President of Pakistan.