KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday claimed to have made all arrangements for Sunday’s by-polls in two National Assembly constituencies of Karachi — NA-237 (Malir-II) and NA-239 (Korangi-I) — announcing that it had also put troops of Pakistan Army and paramilitary forces as quick response force to maintain law and order and maintain peace during the day of voting.

Provincial Election Commissioner Ejaz Anwar Chauhan in a press conference said that the ECP had met all formalities and completed all administrative and legal measures for organising free and fair polls.

He made it clear that the ECP was stuck to its decision about holding by-election on October 16 and local bodies’ polls on October 23.

“It’s the constitutional duty of the ECP to organise fair, free and peaceful elections,” he said. “Following the same spirit, we have made all arrangements for the by-elections in NA-237 (Malir-II) and NA-239 (Korangi-I). The police force would be deployed as primary source of security while the troops of Pakistan Army and paramilitary forces would be there on standby as quick response force to maintain law and order and keep peace intact during the day of voting.”

Administrative, legal measures for organising free and fair polls finalised

Responding to a question about the elections in Karachi in the second phase of local bodies’ polls in Sindh which had been postponed twice, first in July and then in August 2022, he confirmed that the provincial government had requested for staging the crucial voting in two phases.

“The Sindh government has requested for staging local bodies’ elections in two phases. But so far the ECP’s decision is intact that the local bodies’ elections in Karachi will be held on October 23. All the institutions and bodies concerned are being coordinated to finalise the arrangements,” he said.

Earlier, to review the security and other arrangements related to by-elections in NA-237 Malir and NA-239 Korangi, an important meeting was held in the Sindh Secretariat under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput.

In the meeting, Provincial Election Commissioner Aijaz Anwar Chauhan, Secretary Home Saeed Ahmed Mangrejo, Commissioner of Karachi Muhammad Iqbal Memon, IG Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon, Additional IG Karachi Javed Alam Odhu, Secretary School Education Ghulam Akbar Laghari, Secretary College Education Khalid Haider Shah and others participated.

Addressing the meeting, CS Sohail Rajput said that by-elections would be held in NA-237 Malir and NA-239 Korangi on Sunday, October 16, for which all arrangements have been made. He said that CCTV cameras would be installed at the polling stations.

The chief secretary directed the commissioner Karachi and the concerned deputy commissioners to visit all the polling stations themselves and review all the arrangements.

In the meeting, Aijaz Chauhan said that the best arrangements were made by the provincial government on NA-245 and now arrangements were being made on NA-237 and NA-239 as well.

He said that he held meetings with leaders of all the political parties and they were told about the code of conduct. “Political parties have assured us of implementing the code of conduct,” he added.

Mr Chauhan said that strict action will be taken for violation of the code of conduct of elections.

In the meeting, IG Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon, while giving a briefing on the security plan, said that the security plan for the by-elections in Korangi and Malir had been prepared, which had also been shared with the Election Commission.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2022

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