Printing Corporation clarifies its position on ballot papers

ISLAMABAD - The Printing Corporation of Pakistan was assigned printing of 109,158,600 ballot papers by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the general election of 2013.

The Printing Corporation, in response to a press conference given by Provincial Election Commissioner of Punjab Mahboob Anwar, clarifies that the printing work was carried out at three printing presses of the corporation located at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

The numbers of assigned constituencies were 491 out of which 165 were that National Assembly and 326 for provincial assemblies (Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, federal capital and a few divisions of Punjab). Regarding Punjab province, the Printing Corporation printed ballot papers of Rawalpindi Division, Okara district, Gujranwala Division, Lahore Division, Dera Ghazi Khan Division, Faisalabad and Sargodha Division.

Well before the start of printing, the Printing Corporation presses were taken over by the army for security purposes and remained there until holding of the general election of 2013. The ballot papers were bound in booklet of 100 ballot papers each. The ballot papers of each constituency were numbered on the counterfoil only, whereas the booklets were also numbered.

The main printing job was carried out at the Printing Corporation press located at Islamabad. There was only one obsolete numbering machine at the PCP Press in Islamabad for numbering of 61,148,600 ballot papers. Therefore, numbering on counterfoil of the ballot papers had to be done manually by hand. There was an acute shortage of staff in all the three printing presses of the corporation.

The Printing Corporation had followed PPRA Rules to engage firms dealing with numbering and binding from the open market and three firms were duly selected as under:-

a) M/s Faisal Book Binding for Karachi press (107 persons were hired)

b) M/s Moalam Publishing Company for Lahore press (92 persons were hired)

c) M/s Asad Mahmud Printing Press for Islamabad press (80 persons were hired).

Since the task of numbering and binding was colossal, the manager at the Islamabad press also hired 22 persons from the Printing Press of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) which is a government-owned autonomous body. Help was also taken from the Provincial Election Commission (PEC), Lahore through ECP Islamabad as numbering work was lagging behind.

On Printing Corporation’s request, Mehboob Anwar provided 34 skilled numbering staff from Lahore to the corporation’s press at Islamabad. The Entry Register of the corporation’s press at Islamabad shows that these 34 skilled numbering staff were engaged from 4th to 8th May, 2013 and not on 9th May, 2013. The numbering work was done within the premises of the corporation’s presses.

After printing, the ballot papers were inspected by ECP/PEC officers and staff duly deputed by ECP and ballot papers were handed over the to the ARO/ROs or their representatives in the presence of ECP/PEC staff as well security staff of the police/army. The ARO/ROs and their authorised representatives also signed the dispatch vouchers and packing invoice.

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