ISLAMABAD – As the election commission of Pakistan is finalising the nitty-gritties for upcoming elections, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf pledged to hold free and fair polls.Chairing a meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim on Tuesday expressed concern over the issue of Karachi’s ‘unverified voters’.Ebrahim said voter lists had been prepared with the utmost care and any mistakes in the lists would soon be rectified. He added that the commission would implement all orders issued by the Supreme Court.The meeting was briefed that installing CCTV cameras in every polling station was not possible because it required Rs75 billion.The meeting discussed the allotment of election symbols to political parties and establishing call centres during the upcoming general elections.Talking to the media after the meeting, ECP secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan said that the ECP deleted ‘cat’ from the election symbol list, following the request of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which stated that due its resemblance with PML-N symbol ‘tiger’, cat should be removed from the symbol list. The ECP introduced 34 new symbols and omitted nine. He said that the commission notified registration of 19 new political parties, taking the count of registered parties to 216, while the sum of election symbols is 173. The body decided to consider requests from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for being allotted the electoral symbols of choice in the next meeting. The JUI-F has requested the symbol ‘closed book’ instead of ‘open book’ while the PTI and JI both want to be allotted the symbol of ‘scale’.The meeting with a 26-point agenda took up other key electoral issues, including delimitation of constituencies in Karachi as ordered by the Supreme Court, maintaining voter lists, ECP mandate in pre-poll rigging cases and security situation during elections.Referring to a case in the SC regarding new electoral rolls, Khan said, “Our voter lists are accurate and we have facts and figures to support our claim. If other side comes up with something solid, only then something can be done.” Since May 31 this year, over a million voters have been included in fresh lists, currently being verified, the secretary said.Regarding SC’s decision to delimit electoral constituencies in Karachi, the secretary said that the Sindh government had not played its role in the delimitation process. “The election commission’s role begins once this is done but the Sindh government has not initiated the process,” he said. Ishtiaq expressed ECP’s helplessness to intervene in cases of pre-poll rigging before the announcement of elections, saying that the constitutional provisions did not envisage any role for the commission to take up such cases in any electoral constituency ahead of the elections schedule. A reference against 43 Punjab Assembly legislators, alleged to be dual nationals, was incorporated with the cases of other legislators who were required to file affidavits refuting their dual nationality by Friday. The 34 newly introduced electoral symbols are: Bell, Leaf, Audio Cassette, Wheat Bunch, Wheel Barrow, Watermelon, Wicket Stumps, Mobile, Olympics Torch, Generator, Electric Poll, Computer, Electric Heater, Missile, Vernacular, Compact Tank, Air Cooler, Road Ruler, Still Camera, Scale, Sexaphone, Ship, Sunflower, Tent, Trophy, Traffic Signal, Dressing Table, Giraffe, Guitar, Pineapple, Plough, Helmet, Two Swords and Gas Cylinder. The nine omitted electoral symbols are: ‘Peshawari Chappal’ (Peshawar-made sandal) Ladyfinger, Banana, Egg, Flower Vase, Flowerpot, Cat, Mango and ‘Lota’ (ewer).  Separately, Secretary Election Commission Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan called on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the Prime Minister’s House. The secretary briefed the prime minister about the arrangements made by the ECP for holding elections.The prime minister hoped that the upcoming elections will further strengthen the democratic process by streamlining the role of state institutions in the polity.He expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the ECP for holding elections and said that the government would ensure free and fair elections on time.The secretary told the premier that the ECP had evolved a code of conduct which prohibited the display of weapons during political campaigns. The PM appreciated the ban.The secretary told the premier that candidates would have to inform the ECP about the venues of their public meetings in advance to get the permission. The ECP would permit them after consulting the local administration. Similarly‚ rallies and processions brought out by candidates will have to follow specified routes approved by the ECP.He informed the prime minister that the ECP would soon hold meetings with federal and provincial governments to ensure that law and order is maintained during polling. PM Raja assured the secretary that the government will extend all administrative and logistical support to ECP in order to ensure maximum participation and voter turnout.