KARACHI: Provincial administration and the Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday reviewed the arrangements for the first phase of the local government elections scheduled to be held on June 26 in 143 Town Committees, 14 District Councils, one Metropolitan Corporation and 45 Town Municipal Corporations of four of the six divisions of Sindh.
At a meeting chaired jointly by Election Commission Secretary Omar Hameed Khan and Sindh Chief Secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, it was stated that there were 2,980 highly sensitive polling stations in Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions, where Rangers along with police would be deployed.
The meeting participants were informed that as many as 21,298 candidates were participating in the first phase.
In the second phase, elections will be held in 16 districts of Karachi and Hyderabad divisions.
Murad, ECP review arrangements; 37,189 cops to be deployed in Larkana, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions
Separately, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presided over a law and order meeting regarding LG polls and directed the police department to demonstrate zero tolerance while maintaining law and order during the election being held in 14 districts of the four divisions.
The meeting was attended by Inspector General of Police Ghulam Nabi Memon, Home Secretary Saeed Mangnijo, Karachi Commissioner Iqbal Memon, Additional IG-Karachi Javed Odho and DIGs concerned. The commissioners of Mirpurkhas, Larkana, Sukkur and Shaheed Benazirabad divisions attended the meeting through video link.
The chief minister directed the home department to impose Section 144 of the criminal procedure code against display of arms during the LG elections and also asked the police to deploy the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in case of any emergency.
He told the divisional administration and the police to meet the political parties and groups contesting the election and take them into confidence in respect of the code of conduct.
The chief minister was told that there would be 8,724 polling stations in all 14 districts of which 1,985 had been declared as most sensitive, 3,448 sensitive and 3,291 normal.
He directed the commissioners and the police to talk to the candidates and their party leadership to keep their supporters/workers under control. “If the candidates show restraint and understanding of the situation, the number of the most sensitive polling stations would come down,” he said.
The provincial police chief told the chief minister that 26,545 policemen would be deployed at the polling stations in the light of their sensitivity, adding that 9,925 policemen would be on duty at 1,985 most sensitive polling stations, 10,344 at sensitive polling stations and 6,276 at 3,291 normal polling stations.
He said that 10,644 QRFs would be deployed and therefore the number of total deployment would come to 37,189.
The IGP told the chief minister that a police force of 12,012, including 300 from Karachi, 6,607 police training centres, 305 Counter Terrorism Department, 200 crime branch, 4,100 Hyderabad and 500 from Sindh Reserve Policce had been arranged for their deployment at the polling stations.
He said that a women police force of 4,287 was also being arranged for the election duty.
The chief minister directed the chief secretary to keep reviewing arrangements to avoid any issue.
He also directed the IGP to mobilise CCTV-mounted vehicles in the polling areas for close monitoring of the activities.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2022