KARACHI: With police remaining the only source of security for the local government elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday insisted that the deployment of army and Rangers troops was crucial for effective measures and free and fair elections.

Addressing a press conference at his office, Sindh Election Commissioner Ijaz Chuhan said that no major untoward incident took place during the first phase of the LG elections in 14 districts on June 26 that were largely won by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.

He also denied any impression of major violence during the polls, but at the same time also called for deployment of army and paramilitary forces in the second phase of the process when polling would be held in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions on July 24.

He said the Election Commission, despite having limited resources carried out the massive exercise for over 10 million voters. It was only made possible through the cooperation of all the relevant institutions, he added.

“That’s why we call for cooperation and better coordination among the institutions. For free and fair elections we need support from all institutions. And that’s why we call for deployment of army and Rangers. We are again making requests for deployment of the army during the second phase of local government elections,” he said.

13,518 in the run in Karachi, Hyderabad

In the second phase, he said, polls would be held in seven districts — East, West, South, Central, Korangi, Keamari and Malir — of Karachi division and nine districts of Hyderabad division, which include Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Matiari, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Alahyar, Badin, Sujawal and Thatta.

A total of 13,518 candidates would contest the polls for 5,043 seats during the second phase of the polls.

The process would be executed through 172 returning officers and 16 district returning officers.

“The parties have been conveyed about the code of conduct and are requested to follow the set rules. If any individual violates the set rules, the law will take its course,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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