ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday announced to freeze development funds of local governments, including those functioning in the federal capital and cantonment boards, with immediate effect.

According to the ECP’s notification, the development funds of local governments across the country would remain frozen till announcement of results of general elections scheduled to be held on July 25.

The Commission says that it is taking all necessary steps under the law to prevent any action on the part of the local government institutions that amounts to influence the results of upcoming general elections.

It also says the Commission under the Constitution is mandated to provide level playing field to all candidates contesting general elections.

The Commission says that it has frozen the development funds of the local governments by using the constitutional power given to it under Article 218(3) of the Constitution.

The ECP says that it is its responsibility to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has also released a revised election schedule as last date for scrutiny of nomination papers by the returning officers is extended to June 19.

According to the new schedule, revised list of all candidates will be published on June 28, last date for withdrawal of the candidates is fixed June 29 and election symbols will be allotted to all contesting candidates on June 30, 2018.

The Election Commission, however, makes it clear that despite the issuance of the revised schedule, the date of poll will remain intact and general elections will be held on July 25.

Regarding security arrangements for the elections, the Commission will hold a meeting with all relevant stakeholders on June 13 at its headquarters in Islamabad.

In the meeting, the deployment of personnel of Pakistan army/Rangers during the election would also come under discussion, besides installation of security cameras at the polling stations, training/orientation of security personnel and security of political leaders.

The Election Commission would also devise a detailed plan for security of public gatherings including processions and corner meetings during the election campaign by all political parties.

The Commission will observe Eid-ul-Fitr holidays from June 15 to June 17 due to scrutiny of election candidates.

All offices of the Election Commission, National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue and Federal Investigation Agency will remain open on June 18 for scrutiny of nomination papers of the candidates.