Pakistan election regulator resumes training returning officers for polls

Written by fawad Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election oversight body said on Sunday it had resumed training district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs) for the polling exercise, days after it released the schedule for national polls as per the Supreme Court’s directives.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) paused the training following the Lahore High Court’s verdict on Thursday in which it stayed the appointment of ROs and DROs from the bureaucracy. Without the training exercise, polls scheduled for Feb. 8 could have been delayed.

Pakistan’s top court on Friday scrapped the LHC order and directed ECP to release the schedule for polls. Hours later, the regulator announced the schedule, fixing the polling date on Feb. 8.

“Similar to all parts of the country, the training of returning officers and district returning officers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has resumed,” a statement by the ECP’s KP office read.

“The training exercise will be completed by Dec. 19.”

The election oversight committee said 160 ROs and 36 DROs in total are being trained across Pakistan’s northwestern province.

“Senior members of the election commission are performing their duties as trainers,” the ECP said.

According to the ECP’s schedule, a public notice would be issued by the RO on Dec. 19 with the dates for filing nominations with the RO fixed from Dec. 20-22.

The ECP said candidates’ names would be published on Dec. 23 and the nomination papers would be scrutinized from Dec 24-30.

Symbols to political candidates would be allowed by Jan. 13, the ECP said.

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fawad Khan