ISLAMABAD, Aug 1: The Election Commission on Monday turned down Sindh’s request for deployment of around 3,000 private security guards in different polling stations of the province during the local government polls.

“The chief secretary of Sindh has been told that placing of private guards has been disallowed by acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar,” Election Commission Secretary Kanwar Dilshad said at a news conference at the EC secretariat.

The commission had received a request from the Sindh chief secretary for the appointment of private guards in different polling stations due to lack of required security forces, the secretary said, adding that the request had been rejected as it was against the spirit of elections and democratic norms.

Mr Dilshad dispelled the impression that the commission was not acting on complaints of violation of the code of conduct for the candidates, transfers and postings and use of state machinery in electioneering.

Referring to complaints of excesses by Sindh police and harassment and use of state machinery by some ministers, he said the commission had sought report from all district police officers about the police escort provided to the ministers, elected representatives and government officials, so that a decision could be taken in this regard.

All the district returning officers had been directed to hold inquiry and take action against guilty DPOs and Station House Officers if any candidate was illegally arrested on political considerations, he said.

Notifications had been issued by the Sindh government on the directives of the commission regarding enhancement of minority seats in 133 union councils of 12 districts, as, under the law, minority seats had to be increased in case of their population exceeding 10 per cent of the population of any area, he said.

The secretary avoided a question as to why the majority of complaints were coming from Sindh. The DROs had been asked to probe into allegations of transfers and postings of government servants despite a ban, he said.

Mr Dilshad said timely action by the acting CEC had encouraged a large number of women to file their nomination papers in Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Kohistan and Battagram in the NWFP despite agreement between notables and prominent leaders barring them from contesting the elections.

On Thursday last, the commission set up a special complaint cell in its secretariat to receive complaints about violation of the code of conduct, use of state machinery and transfers and postings, he said.

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