KARACHI: The Sindh caretaker cabinet has decided that political parties would have to obtain a no-objection certificate from the deputy commissioners and SSPs concerned for holding election meetings and rallies.
The route of public rallies would be determined in consultation with the DCs and SSPs concerned at least three days before the event.
The caretaker cabinet met for the first time under the chairmanship of caretaker Chief Minister Fazul-ur-Rahman at the New Sindh Secretariat on Friday.
The cabinet approves regularisation policy of sub-soil water supply to industries
All ministers, Chief Secretary retired Major Azam Suleman, Inspector General of Police Amjad Javed Saleemi and provincial secretaries concerned were present.
During the meeting, the IGP pointed out that there was a potential threat of terrorism and a polarised political environment might also cause a law and order situation, including clashes between political groups.
The chief minister observed that the main task of the caretaker government was to pave the way for free, fair and transparent election by providing all the basic facilities and maintain law and order.
“We have to maintain public order, pre-empt terrorist threats, implement the code of conduct,” he said.
Mr Rahman said that the caretaker government had to ensure security measures during electioneering as well as on the polling day and security of polling staff and material. He said for this purpose all law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies were working closely to thwart all kind of threats.
Cameras at most sensitive polling stations
The cabinet also decided to install surveillance cameras at highly sensitive polling stations to record polling proceedings. The chief secretary briefed the cabinet that the Election Commission of Pakistan had identified over 4,000 highly sensitive polling stations in Sindh which include 1,977 in Karachi; 1,206 in Hyderabad, 176 in Mirpurkhas, 124 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 289 in Sukkur and 382 in Larkana.
He said there would be around 17,606 polling stations, of them 4,350 are declared most sensitive, 7,999 sensitive and 5,257 normal.
The cabinet discussed the security arrangements at all the polling stations and decided to install surveillance cameras along with the arrangement of generators.
It directed the finance department to release Rs600 million for installation of cameras and the generators.
106,982 policemen to be deployed on polling day
The IGP said that general law and order situation in the province was satisfactory.
He also mentioned the security plan for deployment of 106,982 policemen, including 16,000 reserves at all the polling stations.
According to the scheme, eight policemen would be deployed at most sensitive polling stations, four at sensitive and two at normal polling stations. A force of 76,310 policemen would be deployed at polling stations and 14,672 would be on patrol.
Home Secretary Muhammad Haroon briefed about salient features of the security protocol for political leaders.
He said it included no hate speech, no hoisting of flags or banners on public property/buildings/poles and no wall chalking on public property.
The political parties would have to obtain an NOC for large public gatherings and rallies, corner meetings and small gathering from the DCs and SSPs concerned.
Election law & order cell
It was pointed out that the security of political parties and candidates would be their own responsibility. However, the Sindh police would be responsible for overall security of locality, area, venue and persons/public gathering at large.
The political leaders may, however, use private security guards in uniform and with licensed arms for their personal security.
The organisers of political events have been urged to record the proceedings of the event and provide recording to the local police.
He also said that an election law and order cell was being established at the home department for close coordination among LEAs, the IG office and field offices to monitor the election.
Control rooms at provincial, divisional and district levels would be established three days before the elections to monitor law and order, he added.
Sub-soil water supply policy to industries approved
The cabinet also approved regularisation of sub-soil water supply to industries in Karachi for a period of three years and extendable for further terms subject to availability of sub-soil water.
All licences would be granted by the managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board on a prescribed form upon written request of the presidents/chairman of estate associates concerned along with a NOC by the MD.
The MD said that the tube well or bore must be situated at a maximum distance from KWSB lines on advance payment of Rs90,000 per bore hole as one-time security deposit which would be forfeited in case of non-payment of water charges.
A non-refundable licence fee shall be charged from the permit holder at the rate of Rs100,000 per bore hole before commencement of the supply.
The cabinet also approved collection of royalty under the Sindh Mining Concession Rules 2002.
Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2018