A person may apply for the transfer of their name from the electoral roll of one electoral area to the electoral roll of another by filing;
i) An objection to the inclusion of their name in the roll in which it has been included, and
ii) A claim for the inclusion of their name in the other, with the appropriate revising authority or revising authorities, if it is preferred before the final publication of the electoral roll, or with the appropriate registration officer or registration officers, if it is preferred after such final publication.
· If there is any name, word or mark, by which the person voting may be identified;
· It does not contain the initials of the Presiding Officer;
· It does not contain a mark of voting;
· A mark is placed against the names of two or more candidates;
· There is any uncertainty as to the identity of the candidate against whose name the mark is placed.
(a) Intentionally defacing or destroying nomination papers, ballot papers or official marks on a ballot paper;
(b) Intentionally removing ballot paper from a polling station or putting into any ballot box any ballot paper other than ballot paper authorized by law;
(c) Without due authority:
(i) Supplying ballot paper to any person;
(ii) Destroying, taking, opening or otherwise interfering with any ballot box or packet of ballot papers in use for the purpose of an election;
(iii) Breaking any seal affixed in accordance with the provisions of the Act;
(d) Forging any ballot paper or official mark;
(e) Causing any delay or interruption in the beginning, conduct or completion of the procedure required to be immediately carried out on the close of the poll.
If any ballot paper which has been issued to an elector has not been inserted by them into the ballot box but is found anywhere else in or near the polling station is considered a stray ballot paper.
It shall be cancelled and accounted for as ‘spoilt ballot paper’.
Yes they can. To contest election to the National Assembly, a person has to be enrolled in any district/constituency electoral roll anywhere in the country and not necessarily in the constituency they live. But if they win more than one seat, they cannot retain more than one seat in the National Assembly. Then they have to resign from all seats except one. IF they are elected to more than one seat, they shall, within a period of 30 days after the declaration of the result for the last such seat, resign all but one of their seats, and if they do not so resign, all seats to which they have been elected shall become vacant at the expiration of the said period of 30 days, except the seat to which they have been elected last or, if they have been elected to more than one seat on the same day, the seat for election to which their nomination was filed last.
In contrast to voters who cast their votes in person, postal voting is a voting process in which voters receive and return the ballot paper by post to exercise their right to vote.
Major beneficiaries of postal voting:
A person who is in the service of Pakistan or holds any public office shall be considered to be resident in the electoral area where they are posted.
The wife of a person who is in the service of Pakistan or holds any public office and their children if they reside with such persons shall also be considered to be resident in the electoral area where they are posted.
A person who is detained in prison or held in other custody at any place in Pakistan shall be considered to be resident in the electoral area in which they would have been resident if they had not been so detained or held in such custody.
A person appointed by the Returning Officer, including Police personnel, for the performance of any duty in connection with an election at polling station other than the one at which they are entitled to cast their vote.
1. After the issue of the notification under section 11 which deals with the transfer of names from one electoral area to another or a person, who is appointed by the Returning Officer for any duty in connection with an election at a polling station soon after their appointment applies to the Returning Officer of the constituency in which they are an elector for a ballot paper for voting by postal ballot.
2. Every such application shall specify the name of the elector, their address and their serial number in the electoral roll.
3. The Returning Officer shall immediately, upon receipt of an application by an elector, send by post to that elector a ballot paper and an envelope bearing on its face a form of certificate of posting, showing the date thereof, to be filled in by the proper official of the Post Office at the time of posting by the elector.
4. An elector, on receiving their ballot paper for voting by postal ballot, shall record their vote in the prescribed manner.
5. After so recording, post the ballot paper to the Returning Officer in the envelope sent to them so as to reach the Returning Officer before results consolidation.
They cast their votes through postal ballots within the dates specified by the ECP.
You must submit your application along with a copy of your CNIC to the District Election Commissioner (DEC) of the district where you want to get your name enrolled. You can obtain Form-A (addition) free of cost from the office of the District Election Commission. It is also available online at the ECP’s website.
If a ballot paper is spoiled by a person, they may return it to the Presiding Officer who shall issue a second ballot paper, canceling the first ballot paper and marking the cancellation on the appropriate counterfoil.
(1) If a person representing themself to be an elector applies for a ballot paper when another person has already represented themself to be that elector and has voted under the name of the person so applying, they shall be entitled, subject to the provisions of the section to receive a ballot paper (hereinafter referred to as ‘tendered ballot paper’) in the same manner as any other elector.
(2) A ballot paper issued under sub-section (1) shall, after it has been marked and folded by the elector, be placed in the same condition in a separate packet bearing the label ‘tendered ballot paper’ instead of being placed in the ballot box and shall not be included in the count by the Presiding Officer or Returning Officer.
(3) The name of the person applying for a ballot paper under sub-section (1) and their number on the electoral roll shall be entered in a list (hereinafter referred to as ‘the tendered votes list’) to be prepared by the Presiding Officer.
If a ballot paper is spoiled by a person, they may return it to the Presiding Officer, who shall issue a second ballot paper, canceling the first ballot paper and marking the cancellation on the appropriate counterfoil.
No person shall be given any ballot paper or be permitted to vote after the hour fixed for the close of the poll, except the persons who, at that hour, are present within the building, room, tent or enclosure in which the polling station is situated and have not yet voted.
If a person is visually impaired and requires help from a companion, the Presiding Officer may allow them to be accompanied by a companion to cast their vote. A candidate or agent of a candidate cannot be a companion.
In a direct election, registered voters directly vote to elect their representatives like in a general election in which members of provincial assemblies and the National Assembly are elected.
In indirect elections, voters do not cast their votes directly. They put this responsibility in the hands of representatives they have elected through direct elections. An example of indirect elections is the election to the office of the President of Pakistan.
Yes, female polling staff members are available at polling booths for women voters in urban and rural areas. In some rural areas where there are no women polling station staff members available, elderly men will be appointed in their place.
Overseas Pakistanis who are registered as voters can cast their votes at the concerned polling station. However, if they are not present in Pakistan at the time of elections, they cannot cast their votes.
A dictatorship is a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in the hands of one person or a small clique. People have no or a very limited role in government making and decision making processes. Moreover, they cannot hold the government accountable and live like subjects of the dictator. Democracy is a government in which supreme power is vested in the people/citizens and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. In democracy, the government is accountable to the people and people have the right to participate in the decision making process through their elected representatives.
The right to information is a fundamental human right. It is the right ‘to have access to information in all matters of public importance’ as enshrined in Article 19A of the Constitution of Pakistan. It includes the right to:
- (i) Inspect work, documents, records;
- (ii) Take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records;
- (iii) Take certified samples of material;
- (iv) Obtain information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device.
A single-party system is a type of state in which a single political party forms the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed limited and controlled participation in elections. China, Cuba, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Vietnam are examples of such countries.
A two-party system is one where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government and, as a result, all or nearly all elected offices are members of one of the two major parties. The USA is the strongest example of the two-party system. Britain and Spain can also fall into this category.
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in a coalition. A large number of democracies, including Pakistan and India, have such systems in place.
Unofficial and non-certified election results refer to results that reflect the vote count from all polling stations. However, these results may not necessarily include all the votes polled in that constituency. They may exclude votes polled through postal ballots, challenged votes, etc.
Nomination is a process through which a voter from a constituency proposes or nominates someone as a candidate for that constituency. The nominations must be supported by a certain number of voters (called seconders) from the same constituency.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a manifesto is a “public declaration or proclamation, usually issued by or with the sanction of a sovereign prince or state, or by an individual or body of individuals whose proceedings are of public importance, for the purpose of making known past actions, and explaining the reasons or motives for actions announced as forthcoming. A manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.”
According to the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002, a person is an eligible voter if:
- They are a citizen of Pakistan;
- They are not less than 18 years of age on the first day of January of the year in which the rolls are prepared or revised;
- They are not declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind;
- They are deemed to be a resident of an electoral area;
- Their name is registered in the electoral rolls as a voter.
A ballot box is a temporarily sealed container, usually a square box with a narrow slot in the top sufficient to accept a ballot paper in an election, but which prevents anyone from accessing the votes cast until the close of the voting period.
A ballot paper is a device used to cast votes in an election and may be a piece of paper or a small ball used in secret voting. It was originally a small ball used to record decisions made by voters.
The Chief Election Commissioner, under Section 57 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, appoints as many as necessary, election tribunals for the trial of election petitions to challenge an election. A candidate for that election must file the petition. An election tribunal consists of a person who has been, or is, or, at the time of his retirement as a District and Sessions Judge, was qualified to be, a Judge of a High Court.
The presiding officer is responsible for the smooth, peaceful and fair conduct of a polling process at their polling station. A presiding officer is authorized to regulate the arrival of electors (voters). They can allow or disallow entry to any person to the polling station.
According to Section 22 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, a candidate can appoint a person qualified to be elected as a member to be their election agent. There can be only one election agent for one constituency. When an election agent is appointed, the candidate sends to the returning officer a notice in writing of the appointment containing the name, father’s name and address of the election agent.
Under Section 23 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, a contesting candidate or their election agent may, before the commencement of the poll, appoint for each polling station as many polling agents as may be prescribed and give notice thereof in writing to the Presiding Officer.
A returning officer (RO) is the key official responsible for conducting the election in an electoral district. At the district level, the ECP appoints District Returning Officers (DROs) who are assisted by the ROs and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs). The responsibilities of ROs include, but are not limited to:
- Issuing copies of nomination papers for candidacy;
- Receiving nomination papers from candidates or their representatives;
- Accepting or rejecting nomination papers;
- Selecting polling staff;
- Selecting polling stations;
- Supervising activities on polling day;
- Collecting results from polling stations;
- Submitting results to the ECP;
- Hearing complaints before and after the elections.
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election.
A polling station is a government building or public property in an electoral area wherein arrangements are made to conduct the business of polling.
‘Free and fair elections’ are those where voters are able to express their preferences without pressure and where the process of running an election and counting votes is done honestly and openly. ‘Free and fair elections’ have certain characteristics which include the following:
- Regular and periodic elections;
- Universal/adult suffrage (one person, one vote);
- Elections conducted by an independent and impartial organization;
- Competing political parties;
- Free speech media;
- Freedom from false, misleading or undue influence on voters;
- Elections held through a secret ballot;
- Quick election results;
- Majority rule and minority representation.
According to Article 59 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Senate consists of 104 members. Membership comprises:
- 14 members elected by the members of each provincial assembly;
- 8 members elected from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas;
- 2 members on general seats, and one woman and one technocrat, including aalim, are elected from the Federal Capital;
- 4 women elected by the members of each provincial assembly;
- 4 technocrats, including ulema, elected by the members of each provincial assembly;
- 4 non-Muslims, one from each province, elected by the members of each provincial assembly.
Elections to fill seats in the Senate are allocated to each province and are held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
According to Article 224 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the caretaker Prime Minister is appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly, and a caretaker Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing provincial assembly:
Article 224A states that, if the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as caretaker Prime Minister within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a committee to be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, comprising eight members of the outgoing National Assembly, or the Senate, or both, having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, respectively.
Similarly, if the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing provisional assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as the caretaker Chief Minister within three days of the dissolution of that Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a committee to be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the provincial assembly, comprising six members of the outgoing Provincial Assembly having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively.
These committees are required to finalize the name of the caretaker Prime Minister or caretaker Chief Minister, as the case may be, within three days of the referral of the matter to it. However, if the committees fail to decide about the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister, as the case may be, the names of the nominees shall be referred to the ECP for final decision within two days.
According to Article 91 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan is elected by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the National Assembly.
According to Article 41 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the President’s electoral college consists of members of both houses (the Senate and National Assembly), and members of the provincial assemblies. According to the Second Schedule of the Constitution of Pakistan, The Chief Election Commissioner determines the result of the election in the following manner:
- (a) The number of votes cast in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in favour of each candidate is counted;
- (b) The number of votes cast in a provincial assembly in favour of each candidate is multiplied by the total number of seats in the provincial assembly for the time being having the smallest number of seats and divided by the total number of seats in the provincial assembly in which the votes have been cast;
- (c) The number of votes calculated in the manner referred to in clause (b) are added to the number of votes counted under clause (a).
In the USA, an electoral college is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President every four years. The President and Vice President are not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they are elected by ‘electors’ who are chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis.
An electorate is the whole body of electors/voters. The electorate is also synonymous with constituency. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “the place or district represented by an elected member of the Parliament.”
Delimitation of constituencies is the reorganization of electoral constituencies. It is done after a specific timeframe to adjust the increase or decrease in population of a constituency. According to the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974, the constituencies for elections to the National and provincial assemblies are delimited after every census. The ECP is responsible for this task.
A constituency, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a body of constituents, the body of voters who elect a representative member of a legislative or other public body. It is also called an ‘electoral district’ and is a distinct territorial subdivision for holding elections for one seat in a legislative body.
Electoral rolls are commonly known as voter lists. They are prepared on the basis of electoral areas.
Every adult, irrespective of their religion, caste, education, color, race or economic conditions is free to vote. Universal adult franchise is based on the concept of equality. The Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 states that only the following persons can be voters in an electoral area:
- Citizens of Pakistan;
- Citizens not less than 18 years of age on the first day of January of the year in which the rolls are prepared or revised;
- Citizens who have not been declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind;
- Citizen’s who are deemed to be residents of an electoral area.
Universal suffrage means that every citizen is allowed to vote. It consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens (or subjects) as a whole, though it may also mean extending that right to minors and non-citizens. According to Pakistan’s election laws, only citizens registered on the electoral rolls are eligible to cast votes.
The National Assembly has 60 reserved seats for women. The following is the province-wise distribution of reserved seats for women in the National Assembly:
|For minorities, 10 seats have been reserved in the National Assembly.|
Reserved seats are those seats in the National Assembly or provincial assemblies for women and non-Muslims.
Reserved seats for women
The members to the seats reserved for women are elected through a proportional representation system of political parties‘ lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of general seats secured by each political party from the province concerned in the National Assembly. The total number of general seats won by a political party include independent returned candidates or candidates who may duly join such political parties within three days of publication in the official gazette, the names of the returned candidates. Each province is a single constituency for all seats reserved for women which are allocated to the respective provinces in the National Assembly.
For provincial assembly members to the seats reserved for women are elected through a proportional representation system of political parties‘ lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of general seats won by each political party in their respective provincial assembly.
The total number of general seats won by a political party include independent returned candidates or candidates who may duly join such political parties within three days of publication in the official gazette, the names of the returned candidates. Each province is a single constituency for all seats reserved for women, which are allocated to that provincial assembly.
Reserved seats for minorities
Members to the seats reserved for non-Muslims are elected through a proportional representation system of political parties‘ lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of general seats won by each political party in the National Assembly.
The total number of general seats won by a political party include independent returned candidates or candidates who may duly join such political parties within three days of publication in the official gazette, the names of the returned candidates. The constituency for all seats reserved for non-Muslims shall be the whole country.
For provincial assemblies, members to the seats reserved for non-Muslims are elected through a proportional representation system of political parties‘ lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of general seats won by each political party in their respective provincial assembly.
The total number of general seats won by a political party include independent returned candidate or candidates who may duly join such political parties within three days of the publication in the official gazette, the names of the returned candidates. The constituency for all seats reserved for non-Muslims shall be the whole province.
Number of general seats in provincial assemblies:
There are 272 general seats in the National Assembly.
General seats are those seats which are single-member territorial constituencies and the candidates contest for and are elected by the direct vote of voters.
Parliament, in Pakistan’s context, consists of two houses, the National Assembly and the Senate, and the office of the President of Pakistan. Parliament can legislate on the subjects mentioned in the Federal List of the Constitution given in its Fourth Schedule.
- To prepare electoral rolls for elections to the National and provincial assemblies and revising such rolls annually;
- To organize and conduct elections to the Senate and fill casual vacancies in a House or a provincial assembly;
- To appoint election tribunals;
- To decide cases of the disqualification of members of Parliament and provincial assemblies under Article 63(2) and Article 63A of the Constitution on receipt of reference from the Chairman or the Speaker or Head of the political party, as the case may be;
- To hold and conduct elections to the Office of the President as per the Second Schedule of the Constitution;
- To hold referendums as and when ordered by the President;
- To make rules providing for the appointment of officers and servants to be employed in connection with the functions of the Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commission and for their terms and conditions of employment.
Article 62 provides “Qualifications for membership of the Parliament (Majlis-e-Shoora)”.
Article 63 provides “Disqualifications for membership of the Parliament (Majlis-e-Shoora).”
Under Clause 12 of the Code of Conduct, “no person or a political party is allowed to affix posters, hoardings or banners larger than the sizes prescribed by the Election Commission as under”:
|Posters||2 ft x 3 ft|
|Hoardings||3 ft x 5 ft|
|Banners||3 ft x 9 ft|
|Leaflets/handbills||9 inches x 6 inches|
The Code of Conduct has a force of law as it has been prepared and issued by the ECP under the authority entrusted to it through Article 218(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, Section 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002, Section 18 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 and the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Workers’ Party Pakistan’s case (C.P.No.87/ 2011). Any violation of the Code of Conduct amounts to an offence and is punishable under the election laws.
The ECP’s Code of Conduct is a ‘Code prepared by the ECP, political parties and candidates to adhere to during the election while campaigning during the elections.’ The Code of Conduct of the ECP for the purpose of General Elections, 2013 was prepared after due consideration of all the suggestions received from political parties and the Special Committee of the Senate.
The members of ECP are appointed by the President. However, a detailed procedure of appointment is given in Article 213 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973.
The Speaker of the National Assembly constitutes a parliamentary committee consisting of 12 members, comprising 50% members from the treasury benches and 50% from the opposition parties, of which one-third are from the Senate. In the case of dissolution of the National Assembly, the Parliamentary Committee consists of the members of the Senate, only.
The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly forward, to the parliamentary committee three names for the appointment of the CEC and confirmation of any one person against each post.
If there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists to the parliamentary committee for consideration, which may confirm any one name.
Constituted under Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, the ECP consists of four members representing four provinces and a Commissioner/Chairman – commonly known as the Chief Election Commissioner.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is a constitutional body comprising one Chief Election Commissioner and four members, one from each of four provinces. They are responsible for organizing and conducting elections to the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, Senate and the Office of the President. If asked by the President of Pakistan, the ECP may also hold a referendum on any issue of national importance.