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November 5, 2015

Govt to deploy rapid response force for second phase of LG polls

Karachi

 
November 5, 2015

Karachi
Owing to incidents of violence, especially in Khairpur, which marred the first phase of the local govt polls held in eight districts of Sindh, the provincial government on Wednesday decided to also deploy a rapid response force in the 15 districts to go to polls on November 19.
The force comprising police and Rangers officers would essentially dispense patrolling duties to keep an eye out for any potential clashes.
Presided over by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, the decisions were made during a meeting held at the CM House.
Addressing media personnel, Sindh Senior Minister for Information Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said the provincial chief secretary, home secretary along with the inspector general were likely to hold a meeting with the chief election commissioner on November 9 to further discuss issues related to the polls.
Still considering directly deploying army troops at polling station, the government officials would, however, discuss calling them in as a back-up force, only to be brought into an effective action in case of an emergency.
Of the total 7,098 polling stations established for the polls, 2,820 were declared most sensitive, 5,571 as sensitive, while 1,707 were stated to be normal.
Regretting the Khairpur incident which claimed the lives of 12 people, he claimed the provincial government would do more to ensure maintenance of law and order. However, according to Khuhro besides the Khairpur incident elections in the rest of the province remained largely peaceful.
A three-member special committee comprising IG Sindh, DG Rangers, commissioners’ of the concerned districts had been formed to coordinate with the law enforcers deployed at the stations, Khuhro informed.
As per further decisions taken at the meeting, a complete ban on display and carrying of weapons would be imposed 48 hours before the polling would start; senior government officials would also be asked to ensure their security guards don’t

flout the ban, the minister claimed.
The senior minister asserted that the provincial govt had resolved to conduct the polls in accordance with the ECP’s code of conduct which included providing a peaceful environment for voters, candidates polling agents and all other staff associated with the elections.
Responding to a question with respect to the government’s decision to not deploy army troops at sensitive polling stations in the first phase of the elections, the minister said that provincial authorities had deemed the presence of police and Rangers personnel sufficient for maintaining law and order.
He, however, lauded the fact that it was the first time in the history of Pakistan that local bodies elections were being held on the basis of political parties.
The meeting at CM House was attended among others by Sindh Rangers DG, provincial chief secretary, IG Sindh, home minister and additional chief secretary of the home department.
The second phase of the local bodies polls would be held in 15 districts of divisions Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas. The third phase of the polls would be held in the six districts of Karachi on December 5.
Shah meets US CG
Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah brief the United States’ Consul General in Karachi, Brian Heath, about the overall matters related to the first phase of the local bodies elections, held on October 31.
Steps being taken for the upcoming second and third phases of the polls were also discussed with the official.
On the occasion, the American diplomat congratulated the provincial minister for the party’s landslide victory in the first phase of the provincial polls.
The provincial minister also briefed Heath about the ongoing targeted operation in city.