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Separate rolls for Muslim, non-Muslim voters
ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: Justice (retired) Irshad Hasan Khan, Chief Election Commissioner, announced on Sunday that all those Muslim voters who had applied for registration as voters in the annual revision of voters lists, would have to submit a declaration about their religious identity, and separate electoral rolls would be prepared for Muslims and non-Muslims.
A notification issued by the CEC on Sunday said separate electoral rolls for Muslim and non-Muslim voters would be prepared as a result of Annual Revision of Electoral Rolls, 2004.
The CEC clarified that he issued the notification in accordance with the federal government decision on Feb 11 last that the declaration as to the belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) for Muslim voters and separate forms both for Muslim and non-Muslim voters as were in vogue since 1978.
The notification said the status of persons belonging to the Qadiani Group or the Lahori Group (who call themselves Ahmadis or by any other name) shall remain unchanged and it would be indicated in the voters lists.
Pakistan after holding five elections on separate electorate basis from 1985 to 1999, reverted to joint electorate in 2002. The separate voters lists is being prepared by the EC on the demand of religio-political parties.
The CEC in its notification said that form-IV for Muslim voters containing declaration as to the belief about the absolute and unqualified finality of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as well as Form-X for non-Muslim voters prescribed under Rule 9 of the Election Rolls Rules, 1974, shall stand restored with immediate effect.
The CEC said the Forms-IV already filed by Muslim voters pursuant to the programme announced on Dec 30, 2003, for revision of electoral rolls, 2004, shall be treated to be validly filed if those were accompanied by the oath/declaration but those Muslim voters, who have filed Forms-IV without declaring their religious belief, shall submit the declaration.
The CEC said the time for filing claims, objections and applications for corrections has been extended up to April 14, 2004. The revising authorities may dispose of claims, objections and applications not later than April 30, 2004, he added.