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Staff recalled as by-polls delayed further

RAWALPINDI:

With the chances of by-elections diminishing before the inflexibility of the ruling coalition, all the returning and assistant returning officers appointed across the Rawalpindi district for election duties have been asked to report to their relevant departments.
According to official sources, some 15 returning officers (ROs) and 30 assistant returning officers were tasked with conducting the crucial polls that have been at the centre of a never-ending tussle between the ruling coalition and the always-agitating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan and the incumbent government to hold elections on the 15 seats of the provincial assembly on Sunday but the ECP citing the lack of funds failed to implement the orders.
Services of approximately 10,000 staff were obtained from different departments for the polling duties, who have been ordered to report back to their respective departments.
Sources further said election posters have been removed from the offices of all the ROs, and the ROs have sent all the data files of the election preparations to the district election commission.
On the other hand, the extravagant spending of contesting candidates in election campaigns has gone in vain. With the passing of the polling day, the candidates of all parties have started calling off their campaigns and closing their offices.
Officials of various departments performed election duties for one and a half months, but none of them have been paid for the extra duties. Various teacher organisations have protested the non-payment of the dues and asked authorities concerned to release the funds immediately.
The ROs said that they have not received any funds from the District Election Commission for the staff. The employees will be paid their honorarium whenever the fund is released, they said.
 
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2023.

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