ISLAMABAD – The election commission says it will show no mercy during scrutiny process and information of the candidates would be shared with the public.

“It’s our job to scrutinise the candidates and we are best trained for this task. Let me assure you, ECP would follow zero tolerance during process of scrutiny,” Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Additional Secretary Afzal Khan said on Sunday.

Briefing the media here, he disclosed that a special IT cell has been established in the ECP for scrutiny of the candidates. He said by 4pm on the last day (Sunday) for nomination papers, the commission had received 5,745 nomination papers.

Scrutiny of 2,546 papers had been completed, he said as he hoped that scrutiny of all the papers would be completed within seven days, by March 7. The candidates were told to file their nomination forms until 4pm but later the commission extended the deadline for nominations until midnight.

The official also said that no one can win election on gun point and added only those candidates securing highest number of votes will win this time. The ECP has directed all Returning Officers to disqualify candidates who display weapons and carry out aerial firing while submitting the nomination papers, he said.

“We will see the footage and pictures of the candidates while submitting the nomination papers and if anyone violated the code of conduct, he will be disqualified for the election.” He also warned that those demonstrating weapons during elections would be sent to jail.

“Nothing will be concealed from the public and information relating to the candidates would be uploaded on ECP website,” Afzal Khan said to a question. He criticised Higher Education Commission (HEC) for not extending full cooperation regarding the verification of degrees.

The additional secretary said that elections are very important for the country and the cooperation from the law enforcement agencies would be vital for holding of peaceful elections. “Pakistan's enemies may struck again to sabotage election process but the law enforcement agencies would (hopefully) foil their nefarious designs.”

He said all political parties have submitted priority list for reserved seats for national as well as the provincial assemblies to election commission. According to him, as many as 135 candidates have submitted nomination papers for 10 minorities’ seats in the national assembly, eight in Punjab Assembly, nine in Sindh and three each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assembles.

INP adds: National Database and Registration Authority has devised electronic voting software for facilitating overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes in the upcoming elections-2013.

NADRA Chairman, Tariq Malik said on Sunday that the Supreme Court would be briefed on Monday (today) about this electronic voting mechanism.

In an intrview, NADRA Chairman said that the political parties and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would also be taken into confidence relating to the use of this software enabling overseas Pakistanis to cast their votes. Tariq Malik said that his organisation also helped ECP in devising a system for the scrutiny of the electoral candidates that would filter out the tax defaulters and dual nationals. He said that over 20 million people have by now checked up their registration of votes through NADRA.

NADRA could also help Higher Education Commission (HEC) in computerising the records of the degrees.