The federal government has granted the upcoming general elections in 2023 a budget allocation of approximately Rs 42.41 billion. An additional Rs15 billion is set aside to ensure the voting process’s security.
The financial breakdown includes over Rs5.60 billion for the project management unit and voting activities and more than Rs4.83 billion for printing ballot papers. The printing of election lists is set to consume Rs270 million of the budget.
Allocations for other aspects of the elections include Rs1.79 billion for the election training wing, over Rs500 million for media coordination, and more than Rs1.2 billion for overall election preparations.
Province-specific allocations include nearly Rs9.65 billion for Punjab, around Rs3.95 billion for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, approximately Rs3.65 billion for Sindh, and over Rs1.11 billion for Balochistan.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had initially requested a Rs54 billion allocation for nationwide elections. Although the government has promised to provide Rs47 billion, it has so far disbursed Rs5 billion.
The ECP postponed the Punjab election to October 8, citing a lack of funds, security threats, and an inability to offer a fair and peaceful election. This decision came after the Punjab Assembly and later the K-P Assembly were dissolved by PTI Chairman Imran Khan in January.
Despite the Supreme Court order that elections in Punjab be held on May 14, Imran’s subsequent arrest and violent protests have added an unexpected twist to the political landscape.