Army, Rangers will be approached for transparent polls: ECP

Published October 18, 2023
CHIEF Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja chairs a meeting at Sindh Secretariat on Tuesday to review arrangements for general elections in Sindh.—Handout photo
CHIEF Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja chairs a meeting at Sindh Secretariat on Tuesday to review arrangements for general elections in Sindh.—Handout photo

KARACHI: The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja on Tuesday said that all available resources should be utilised to ensure free, fair transparent and peaceful general elections for which the army and Rangers authorities would be approached. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would also extend every support to the Sindh caretaker government in this regard, he added.

Mr Raja was chairing a meeting at the Sindh Secretariat to review arrangements to be done for the next general elections. It was attended by all four ECP members – Nisar Durrani, Shah Mohammad Jatoi, Babar Hasan Bharwana and retried Justice Ikramullah Khan, besides ECP Secretary Umer Hameed Khan, Provincial Election Commissioner (Sindh) Ejaz Anwar Chauhan, Chief Secretary Dr Mohammad Fakhar Alam, Home Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Memon, IGP Riffat Mukhtar and other officials.

The CEC warned that political favouritism by any government employees would not be tolerated and those who would found involved in such activities would face strict action.

CEC receives briefing from senior election, police officers regarding ongoing preparations in Sindh

He said only free, fair and transparent elections could ensure a strong and effective democracy in the country. The CEC directed the officials concerned to devise a special plan for the voters living in the flood-affected areas of Sindh.

The ECP secretary gave a briefing to the ECP chief about the ongoing preparations for the upcoming general elections including updating lists and registration of voters.

The provincial election commissioner, informing the meeting about the arrangements made so far in connection with elections in Sindh, also explained the remaining steps to be taken in this regard.

He told the meeting that over 26.7 million registered voters in Sindh would exercise their voting right. Polling would be held on 62 seats of National Assembly and 130 seats of Sindh Assembly, he said. A total of 4,430 polling stations had been declared ‘most sensitive’ and 8,080 others ‘sensitive’, said Mr Chauhan.

The Sindh chief secretary said that the provincial caretaker government would extend its full cooperation and support to the ECP in the holding of the elections.

The Sindh government was strictly implementing the the directives issued by the election watchdog with regard to transfers and postings of government officers, he said, added that all required facilities to voters would be ensured at every polling station.

The IGP said that the police had devised a security plan for the peaceful holding of the elections. A total of 110,334 police personnel would be deputed while the Quick Response Force would be there to deal with any untoward incident during the elections, he said.

The National Assembly and two provincial assemblies were dissolved a few days before the expiry of their terms in August this year. Under the Constitution, fresh general elections have to be held within 90 days from the dissolution of an assembly before completion of its term. However, the ECP is yet to announce a specific date for the general elections on certain grounds.

It had indeed hinted about one-and-a-half months back that the general elections would probably be held by the end of January next year if the ongoing delimitation process was completed earlier than scheduled.

The election watchdog had also claimed that it would not accept any pressure from any side and that the elections would not go beyond mid-February under any circumstances.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2023

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