By inviting foreign observers and the media to follow the polling process in order to guarantee impartiality and transparency, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday provided yet another hint that it might hold elections in January.
Under Section 238 of the Elections Act, 2017, the ECP sent out a two-page invitation outlining the procedures for foreign observers and journalists to get accreditation cards and visas in order to visit the country for the general elections.
The final week of January 2024 is the tentative date for the general election, according to the ECP. Subject to the completion of codal requirements (Section 238 of the Elections Act 2017), the Election Commission of Pakistan maintains an Open Door Policy for the accreditation of any domestic or foreign observer, according to the ECP.
According to the legislation, observers are not permitted to watch elections unless they have received accreditation, which is given following the approval of necessary paperwork and security clearance.
According to the ECP, the "Pakistan Online Portal" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the place where one may apply for a visa. The "accreditation application form," which can be seen on the ECP website, must be attached to the visa application for anybody hoping to come to the country for the polls.
"ECP will issue accreditation cards to security-cleared international observers and media and arrange briefings for observers in the ECP Secretariat after completion of codal formalities as per law," the commission continued. It was also recommended that they heed the Foreign Office's and the Interior Ministry's advice.
"We think that having foreign observers present would give the electoral process a significant boost, guaranteeing its impartiality and transparency and enhancing its legitimacy. The ECP stated that all essential preparations would be taken in this regard to enable foreign observers to do their tasks efficiently and on their own.
The watchdog expressed the expectation that during this "important event" in Pakistan's "democratic history," foreign observers and the media will provide a "positive and valuable output."