The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) resumed training returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) after the Supreme Court’s recent verdict confirmed February 8 2024, as the date for the upcoming general elections.
The apex court’s decision was announced on Friday evening during the hearing of a plea filed by ECP challenging the Lahore High Court’s poll-related order that halted the training of ROs DROs less than two months ahead of the elections next year.
After much deliberation over measures to avoid the delay in the conduct of polls, the apex court paved the way for the elections to take place on the announced date, which remains a major demand of political stakeholders and the electoral body.
A three-member bench took up the appeal filed by the electoral watchdog on the LHC order halting the training of district returning officers (DROs) and returning officers (ROs).
The LHC’s decision, which came on a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Umair Niazi, suspended ECP’s decision to appoint the ROs and DROs from the executive branch.
The electoral body said in a statement today, the training has kick-started across the country and will be completed on December 19.
At least 859 ROs and 144 DROs are currently being trained by senior ECP officers, the electoral authority said.
In this regard, a ban has also been imposed by the DRO Islamabad on the holidays of officers and officials of government institutions in Islamabad on ECP’s instructions.
“Education department officers and employees will not leave Islamabad,” DRO Islamabad said.
The DRO has also asked the Federal Directorate of Education officials to stay in Islamabad following ECP’s directions.