ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan announced on Thursday that army and Rangers would remain deployed in and outside polling stations till completion of counting of votes in the coming by-elections in Punjab.
The ECP said in a statement: “The personnel of Pakistan Army/Rangers may start patrolling / flag-march in the constituencies No NA-144 (Okara-II), NA-122 (Lahore-V), PP-147 (Lahore-XI) and PP-16 (Attock-II) before, on and after the said by-elections till midnight following the consolidation of results by the returning officer.”
The by-election in PP-16 Attock constituency will be held on Oct 6 and in other constituencies on Oct 11.
The commission said that the army and Rangers personnel would be deployed one day before the by-elections on every polling station to assist the polling staff to conduct elections in a free, fair and transparent manner
The decision, according to the ECP, has been taken “in view of the requests made by the returning officers, endorsed by the concerned district returning officer and provincial election commissioner, Punjab”.
Further, each presiding officer, appointed in connection with the by-elections to be held on Oct 6 and 11, has been entrusted with powers of a first class magistrate to be exercised by him within the precincts of his polling station.
The officers in-charge of Pakistan Army / Rangers and JCOs deployed in a constituency have also been delegated with similar powers.
The ECP decided that under articles 220 and 245 of the Constitution, necessary arrangements for providing security will be made by Pakistan Army and Rangers – by deployment inside and outside polling stations – to assist the commission.
ASSETS DETAILS: The commission said on Thursday that out of 1,168 members of parliament and four provincial assemblies, 701 legislators – 222 MNAs and 74 senators, 193 MPAs from Punjab, 121 from Sindh, 53 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 38 from Balochistan – had submitted statements of their assets by the Sept 30 deadline.
Meanwhile, the ECP issued a notification to restore the National Assembly membership of Siddique Khan Baloch – the PML-N MNA from Lodhran. The Supreme Court had restored his membership on Sept 29.
The ECP also notified Fatima Fareeha of PML-N as a member of the Punjab Assembly on a seat reserved for women.
The Chief Election Commissioner adjourned on Thursday the hearing of MQM’s petition till Oct 27 against qualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan as a member of the National Assembly.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2015