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Voters’ lists updated till May to be used for by-polls: ECP assures LHC

Punjab Election Commissioner says there are a total of 4,579,898 voters in 20 constituencies of the provincial assembly where by-election will be held

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) informed the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday that the existing electoral rolls of 2022 that were updated till May 25, 2022, would be used in by-elections to be held on 20 vacant seats of the Punjab Assembly on Sunday (tomorrow).

Punjab Election Commissioner Saeed Gull appeared before the court and submitted a written reply and assurance before it. Saeed Gull said that there were a total of 42, 45, 018 voters in 20 constituencies till December 21, 2020 but the number of voters increased to 45, 79, 898 voters till May 25, 2022. “There was a net increase of 334, 880 from the existing list to the updated one,” read the report submitted before the court of Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi who was hearing the petition filed by PTI leaders challenging alleged changes in the voters’ lists ahead of the by-elections on 20 seats in Punjab.

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During the hearing, Gull assured the court that the existing electoral rolls that were updated on May 25, 2022 would remain in force until revised. “The last revision of Electoral Roll was carried out in the year 2019-2020 and as per approved plan, the ECP published the final electoral rolls 2022 in the month of October 2020.

According to Section 42 of the Election Act, 2017, the existing electoral rolls shall remain in force until revised,” read the report he submitted before the court.

The report also said, “The Schedule for by-elections was issued on May 25, 2022. In accordance with Section 39, read with Section 42 of Election Act 2017, existing electoral rolls updated till May 25, 2022 would be used in the said by-election.” The Punjab Election Commissioner also informed the court that besides the revision of electoral rolls, the ECP also arranged enrollment and correction other than periodical revision under Section 25 and 37 of the Election Act, 2017.

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In PP-7 Rawalpindi-II, there were 315, 471 voters till Dec 21, 2020 followed by an increase of 19, 824 voters that led the total figures to 335, 295 as per the lists updated on May 25, 2022. In PP-83 Khushab-II, there were 303, 956 voters till December 21, 2020 and according to the updated lists of May 25, 2022, the voters now increased to 322, 428.

In PP-90 Bhakkar-II, the voters were 244, 113 till December 21, 2020 and now the figures rose up to 248, 960 as per the updated lists of May 25, 2022.  Similarly, in PP-97 Faisalabad-I, there were 239, 558 voters till December 21, 2020 but the updated figures of the voters are 255, 884. In PP-125, Jhang-II, the voters were 228, 810 till December 21, 2020 which are now 251, 571 as per the updated list of May 25, 2022.  There were a total 216, 177 voters for PP-127, Jhang-IV till December 21, 2020 and now there are 234, 596 voters.  In PP-140, Sheikhupura VI, there were 219, 035 voters till December 21, 2020 but now there are 241, 598 voters as per the updated list of May 25, 2022.

In PP-158, Lahore-XV, there were a total 221, 575 voters till December 21, 2020 but now there are 236, 394 as per the updated list of May 25, 2022. In PP-167, Lahore-XXIV, there were 206, 511 voters till December 21, 2020 but they are now 220, 348. In PP-168, Lahore-XXV, the voters were 139, 655 till December 21, 2020 but updated voters are now 151, 484 voters. In PP, 170, Lahore-XXVII, there were a total 107, 258 voters till December 21, 2020 and now there are 114, 652 voters as per the updated list of May 25, 2022.

For PP-202, Sahiwal-VII, there were total 216, 135 voters till December 21, 2020 but there are now 233,079 voters in the said constituency as per the updated list of May 25, 2022. In PP-217, Multan-VII, there were a total 200, 708 voters till December 21, 2020 but updated figures are 216,996. In PP-224, Lodharan-I, there were a total 215, 324 voters but the updated voters are 232,173. In PP-228, Lodhran V, there were 206, 703 voters till Dec 21, 2020 but the updated voters are 226,088 in the said constituency.

In PP, 237, Bahawalnagar-I, there were 205,913 voters till Dec 21, 2020 but the updated voters are 225, 341. In PP-272, Muzaffargarh-V, there were a total 183, 771 voters till Dec 21, 2020 but there are now 203,567 voters as per the updated list of May 25, 2022.  In PP-273, Muzaffargah-VII, there were a total 203,599 voters till Dec 21, 2020 but there are now 225,200 voters as per the updated list.

In PP-282, Layyah-III, there were total 186, 139 voters till Dec 21, 2020 but there are now total 202,249 voters while in PP-288, Dera Ghazi Khan-IV, there were total 184,607 voters but there are now 201,995 voters as per the updated list of May 25, 2022. The provincial Election Commissioner assured the court that the by-polls would be conducted as per the existing voters lists and denied any changes in the lists. He said the errors in the voters’ lists were corrected.

However, the Provincial Election Commissioner said that the petitioner did not have locus standing to file the petition, pointing out that he was not an aggrieved person. After assurance from the ECP official and a written reply, Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi disposed of the petition. Later talking to the reporters, Saeed Gull, the provincial election commissioner, said that 2.5 million dead voters were identified in the provisional voters’ lists and the data was sent to the district election commissioners for its update.

“The preparations have been made for by-elections in Punjab,” said Gull, adding that the ballot papers were dispatched to the concerned places. He also stated that high-security arrangements were made at the sensitive polling stations and surveillance would be ensured through the closed circuit cameras. He also claimed that they were ready to cope with the changing weather situation. Gull said, “The by-polls will be conducted on the final voter’s lists of 2020 this year and the voter’s lists displayed on June 2, 2022, are provisional and are for the next general elections of 2023”. “The provisional voters’ lists will be finalized this year in August,” he added.

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