In a notification issued on Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asked for the deployment of Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers troops for the upcoming by-poll and local government elections in Karachi.
The notification reads: “In pursuance of Article 218(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan to organise and conduct elections and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against. According to the schedule, by-election is to be held in the constituency NA-245 Karachi East-IV on August 21, 2022.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan, in terms of Article 220 of the constitution, Section 5, read with Section 193 of the Elections Act, 2017, hereby authorises that each designated officer incharge of [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] deployed for providing security (standby/QRF mode only) from August 20 to August 22, 2022, of the above-said constituency for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the poll of the constituency will exercise powers of magistrate first class for the entire duration of their deployment in respect of offences mentioned in Section 171 (capturing of a polling station or polling booth) punishable under Section 174 of the aforesaid Act and to take cognisance of any such offences under Section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code and to try such offences in a summary way in accordance with the provisions of the said Code relating to summary trials.
“The security personnel of [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] are deployed (standby / QRF mode only) from August 20 to August 22, 2022, in the above-said constituency for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the poll, while performing their security duties they are supposed to first report to the presiding officer of any irregularity or malpractice they observe outside the polling station and act according to the instructions issued by the officer in that regard.
“In case the presiding officer does not act to prevent the commission of any reported irregularity or malpractice, the security staff will immediately bring the matter to the notice of the designated officer incharge of [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] of an area of the said constituency for action in the light of the powers delegated to them and also inform the returning officer concerned.”
A high-level meeting to discuss how to maintain peace and security during the upcoming by-election and local government polls was held with Sindh police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon in chair. The meeting was attended by senior police officials, including Karachi police chief Jawed Alam Odho.
Officials said the meeting at the Central Police Office discussed the second phase of the LG elections in Karachi and Hyderabad as well as the by-poll for Karachi’s NA-245 constituency, with a detailed review of all matters of peace and security, after which further necessary instructions were issued.
Odho told the meeting that for the second phase of the LG elections and the NA-245 by-poll, they have devised security plans at range and district levels, and ensured deployment accordingly, with citywide picketing and snap checking. He gave a detailed briefing, with special reference to measures like monitoring.
Memon said that not only should security be kept on high alert during the second phase of the LG elections but all matters and measures like monitoring, police patrolling and strict surveillance must also be ensured, while similar measures must be taken for the by-poll.
He issued instructions that security and deployment must be ensured according to the plan, and that peaceful environment must be ensured at every polling station, with complete police control in terms of maintaining law and order.
He said the manpower available at district level must be given regular briefing about their responsibilities, while the anti-riot reserve and Rapid Response Force platoons must be kept ready and alert in the respective districts to deal with any possible emergency situation.
He gave clear instructions that for complete police control as regards law and order, mutual relations must be strengthened at district level, including advance intelligence collection, information sharing with the Special Branch and timely follow-up, saying that such measures must also be made more concrete and coordinated.
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