ISLAMABAD: Over 2,000 journalists working in various media houses in Islamabad and Rawalpindi will not be able to cast their votes in their ancestral areas due to their duties on election day.
The journalists, who belong to various parts of the country, have demanded of the Election Commission of Pakistan to devise a swift strategy to facilitate them to cast their vote in their respective constituencies on May 11.
A large number of journalists have been assigned election duties by their organizations in the Federal Capital and neighboring Rawalpindi for providing prompt information to the general public.
The elections are one of the biggest exercise in the peace time and every media organization wants its proper coverage. But unfortunately the ECP has not devised any system in this era of high technology to ensure use of vote right by the journalists.
Zaghum Abbas Naqvi, a journalist belonging to Sargodha, told APP that the government employees had been given an opportunity to cast their vote through ballot papers but this facility was extended to the journalists.
Hafiz Nasir, another journalist who belongs to Raheem Yaar Khan, said that the ECP through a number of advertisements, seminars and conferences educated the people about the importance of their vote for the betterment of country. Ballot is the only way to elect representatives, he added.
He regretted that the ECP did not devise a mechanism for the journalists’ of the twin cities to cast their votes registered in their native areas.
Waqar Satti, President of Rawalpindi and Islamabad Union of Journalists, talking to APP, said that the it was the responsibility of the ECP to install a system through which the mediamen could cast their votes.
He urged the ECP to take immediate action in this regard and devise a system facilitating the journalists to use their democratic right.
When contacted, ECP spokesman Khursheed Alam said that under the law there was no system for journalists or private employees to cast their votes.
There is a need to amend laws enabling such people to caste their votes, but it is not possible at this stage, he added.
Barrister Afzal Hussain, talking to APP, said that the parliament had been dissolved after completing its term and now only the President of Pakistan could promulgate an ordinance in this regard.
He said that the journalists sacrificed a lot for the democratic system in the country by upholding the rule of law and they should be given the right to cast their votes.
Afzal requested the President to promulgate an ordinance facilitating the journalists to cast votes in their receptive areas while performing the duties at their workplace.