KARACHI, May 8: A district returning officer (DRO) suggested on Wednesday deployment of the armed forces on an urgent basis to maintain law and order during elections.

District and Session Judge (south) Shahid Shafiq, who is the DRO of Karachi south, sent a letter to the deputy commissioner (south) after examining a number of applications moved by candidates and government officials with regard to a poor law and order situation in the district.

The letter said that a number of verbal and a few written complaints had been submitted by the candidates and government officials about the law and order situation, which they feared might disturb the process of elections.

They asked the DRO to declare most of the polling stations ‘sensitive’ as they feared missive rigging and violence.

Syed Arif Ahmed, a town officer (education), in an application stated that on May 1 he along with other officials was intercepted by some armed men in Mehmoodabad. They extended threats when they were coming back after attending a meeting with proposed polling staff in Noor-i-Islam College, it added.

The DRO further stated in the letter that providing security to officials involved in the process of elections was one of the prime responsibilities of his office and the government.

He added that this exercise could not be carried out effectively under such circumstances and it was high time strict security arrangements were made.

Personnel of the armed forces might be deployed during the process of election to maintain law and order situation in district south, the DRO recommended.

He said that the force would not only be acquired on polling day, but he strongly proposed that the armed forces personnel be engaged immediately and asked to perform patrolling and set up a few posts in sensitive areas till the elections.

Besides the Rangers, police and other law-enforcement agencies, one personnel of the army might be deployed at each sensitive polling station, he concluded.

Meanwhile, a returning officer (south) ordered authorities to stop salaries of five officers of the State Life Insurance Corporation for their absence in connection with election duties.

The RO directed the high-ups to stop the salaries of assistant managers Moosa Abidi and Iqbal and area managers Masood Ansari, Rashid Hasnain Shah and Obaid Ahmed and also asked to ensure their presence on Wednesday.

The RO had summoned them for elections duties, but they did not turn up.

Meanwhile, meetings to discuss and finalise security arrangements for elections were held on Wednesday at the offices of district returning officers (South & Malir).

Officials from the provincial government, local administration, Rangers, army and police attended the meetings.


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