KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan has suggested deployment of Rangers personnel inside polling stations in the next general election.
Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and the Director General of Sindh Rangers, Major General Rizwan Akhtar, met here on Tuesday and agreed upon enhanced and improved security measures during the general election, following allegations of rigging in the recent by-election on a Sindh Assembly seat.
“During the meeting, it came as a surprise for Justice (retd) Ebrahim that Rangers personnel were deployed outside the polling stations during by-polls for Sindh Assembly’s PS-21 seat of Naushahro Feroze,” said a source privy to his discussion with the Sindh Rangers chief.
“The CEC also conveyed rigging complaints and concerns expressed by the contesting parties over the performance of Rangers. They also discussed security measures proposed for the general election to ensure a transparent electoral process.”
The chief election commissioner believed that law and order was the only ‘obstacle’ to holding polls in a transparent manner.
“For that purpose, I will meet heads of every security organisation,” Justice Ebrahim told Dawn after meeting the Sindh Rangers DG.
“It didn’t sound a wise move to depute the Rangers outside polling stations during the recent by-polls in Sindh. We will definitely depute them inside in the general election and assurance has been received from the Rangers DG in this regard in today’s meeting.”
Describing the coming polls as a ‘matter of life and death for a strong and transparent democratic system’, he said the commission was in talks with every institution to make the polling and results acceptable to all stakeholders.
“The recent by-polls came as a test case for ECP and we have learned a lot during the process. It helped us design such a policy that addresses law and order problem. Recent meetings with heads of several institutions are part of our plan to cover all those loopholes which we observed during by-polls,” Justice Ebrahim said.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party met Sindh Election Commissioner Sonu Khan Baloch and submitted their party’s suggestions on verification of electoral rolls and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi, two days after the stipulated time for the purpose ended on Dec 10.
“The deadline is over, but the commission is still accepting proposals from political parties,” said Mr Baloch.
These suggestions would be discussed at a meeting to be presided over by the chief election commissioner in Islamabad on Thursday.