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ECP asked to provide details of ballot papers printed for 2013 polls

ECP asked to provide details of ballot papers printed for 2013 polls

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Ombudsman’s Secretariat has taken notice of the refusal by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to provide record pertaining to ballot papers printed for 2013 general elections to an applicant, observing that it was not justified and amounted to a violation of spirit of the Freedom of Information Ordinance (FIO) 2002.

The ECP has been told to provide the requisite information to the applicant and take disciplinary action under the law and rules against the officer concerned for ignoring a reference sent to the ECP by the ombudsman’s secretariat in this matter.

“Compliance of the above recommendations should be re­­ported within fifteen days from receipt of a copy of these findings, or reasons for not doing so may be intimated in terms of Article 11 (2) of the president’s Order No. 1 of 1983 as am­­ended up to 14.03.2013 by the federal Ombudsman’s institutional reforms act, 2013,” the communiqué sent to the ECP reads.

According to the ombudsman’s findings, Yasser Javed had requested the ECP under the FIO to provide information about the data of ballot papers printed for each constituency of the national and provincial assemblies for the 2013 elections. He also had inquired about the date of receipt of ballot papers by the respective returning officers, which the ECP did not provide.

Having failed in his efforts, the applicant sought the intervention of the federal ombudsman. On receiving the complaint, the ombudsman’s office took up the matter with the ECP, seeking its comments and the case was fixed for hearing. But the commission did not furnish comments by the due date, nor did anybody appear on its behalf on the date of hearing.

The ombudsman’s secretariat, after examining the complaint, found that the information sought by the complainant was general in nature and did not relate to working of chief election commissioner or a member of the ECP. A reference was sent to the ECP with the recommendation to provide the data to the complainant.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

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