KARACHI, May 8: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed the federal and provincial authorities and the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure full and effective security in Lyari and its neighbourhoods and “around the polling stations in order to avoid any untoward incident” during the electioneering and polling in the violence-hit vicinity.

A division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqar gave the directions while disposing of a constitutional petition of Sardar Nabil Gabol, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement candidate for NA-248, who moved the court for deployment of the army in view of the security situation in the constituency.

The petitioner submitted that Lyari was a volatile constituency and the police had conceded in the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Karachi violence case that no-go areas still existed in Lyari, where even the police could not establish the writ of law. He contended that it was impossible to enter the vicinity and run an election campaign or approach voters due to criminals groups.

Mr Gabol said that militant groups were ruling the area, as Rangers and police had failed to restore peace to the area. In such a situation, he said, it would be impossible for voters to cast their votes peacefully.

He prayed to the court to direct the respondents to provided adequate security so that they could freely exercise their right of franchise.

He stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan was duty-bound under Articles 218(3) and 220 of the Constitution to make effective arrangements for a peaceful atmosphere during elections.

The petitioner stated that the peaceful elections could only be ensured with ample deployment of the army not only at the polling stations but also in the streets leading to polling stations.

The bench directed the interior and home secretaries and the election commission to ensure full and effective security by deploying law-enforcement agencies adequately in NA-248 constituency.

The court also ordered that security measures might also include patrolling of the law enforcers around the polling stations in order avoid any untoward incident.

Pillion-riding case Another SHC division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, issued notices to the chief secretary, home and law secretaries and others in a petition against the ban on pillion ridding in the city.

The petition was filed by a civil right campaigner and secretary general of the United Human Right Commission of Pakistan, Rana Faizul Hasan.

The petitioner submitted that over two million people were suffering due to the ban imposed on March 4 on pillion riding. He said that that the ban was violation of the citizens’ fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 4, 8, 9 and 25 of the Constitution.

The bench put off the hearing to a date to be later announced by the court office.

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