Islamabad, Jan 10 (EFE).- Pakistan’s printers are in overdrive as the election campaign heats up ahead of the Feb. 8 polls, despite the growing influence of social media in political campaigns.
Printers across the country are working tirelessly to meet the increasing demand for election campaign posters and flyers, according to the traders.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced that general elections for the parliament and four provincial assemblies are scheduled to take place on Feb. 8.
Although the final list of contestants is set to be issued by the ECP on Jan. 23, nearly 23,000 candidates contesting for national and provincial assemblies have had their nomination papers accepted.
The National Assembly comprises 266 general and 70 reserved seats. It represents 141 elected members from Punjab, 61 from Sindh, 45 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 16 from Balochistan, and three from the capital Islamabad, allocated based on their respective population sizes.
According to the ECP, 7,473 nomination papers were filed for the National Assembly seats. Among them, 6,449 papers were accepted, while 1,024 were rejected by the poll panel on various grounds.
The candidates whose nominations have been accepted have already approached printing markets for the production of various display materials, including banners, hanging banners, symbols, handbills, badges, stickers, and posters, along with party flags and voter cards.
Printing markets in almost all big and small cities have been overwhelmed by candidates to get their election campaign materials done.
Pakistani streets are filled with election campaign posters and banners featuring the contestants and their poll promises.
“We have nothing to do with who wins or loses. Meeting the demands of our customers is our utmost priority,” Abdul Shafiq, a printer from Lahore’s Urdu Bazar, told EFE.
He said Lahore, being the political hub of eastern Punjab province, is already adorned with posters and banners.
More campaign banners will come up in the coming days, as the “earning season” for these printers will be in full swing shortly.
“We are not usually closing these days because of the increasing demand, but sometimes we go for a break for an hour or two in the wee hours,” said the printer.
In Pakistan, contestants woo voters through colorful banners, posters, and pole banners. These materials often feature party manifestos and the candidates’ promises to serve the people.
Party flags and posters are distributed to supporters free of charge for display at their homes or on their vehicles.
However, the printing business has been negatively impacted by strict election laws, greater dependence on social media, and increased inflation.
The ECP has implemented an 80-point code of conduct for general elections, and any candidate found violating it may face suspension of their candidacy.
The code prohibits the placement of posters in public places, including bridges and national institutions, along with a ban on hoardings, billboards, and wall chalking.
However, compliance with election laws in a country of 240 million people is traditionally inconsistent. EFE