ECP seeks Army and Ranger deployment for upcoming polls
In a notification issued on Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) requested the deployment of troops from the Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers for the upcoming by-elections and local elections in Karachi.
The notification reads as follows: “According to Article 218(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is the duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan to organize and conduct elections and to arrange necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, fairly, equitably and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are protected against corrupt practices. According to the schedule, a by-election will be held in NA-245 Karachi East-IV constituency on August 21, 2022.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan, under Article 220 of the Constitution, Section 5, read together with Section 193 of the Election Act 2017, hereby authorizes that every appointed officer in charge of [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] deployed to provide security (standby mode/QRF only) from August 20 to August 22, 2022, of said constituency for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the constituency poll will exercise the powers of first class magistrate for the duration of their deployment for the offenses referred to in article 171 (capture of a polling station or a voting booth) sanctioned by article 174 of the aforementioned law and to deal with such offenses under article 190 of the code of criminal procedure and to try these offenses summarily in accordance with the summary trial provisions of the said Code.
“Security staff at [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] are deployed (standby/QRF mode only) from August 20 to August 22, 2022, in the above-mentioned constituency for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the poll, in the performance of their security duties, they are expected to report first to the President any irregularity or professional misconduct that they observe outside the polling station and act in accordance with the instructions issued by the officer in this regard.
“In the event that the presiding officer does not act to prevent the commission of a reported irregularity or professional misconduct, security personnel will immediately bring the matter to the attention of the designated officer in charge of [Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and Pakistan Army troops] of a sector of the said electoral division for action taking into account the powers delegated to them and also inform the election chairman concerned.
A high-level meeting to discuss how to maintain peace and security in the upcoming by-elections and local elections was convened under the chairmanship of Sindh Police Chief Ghulam Nabi Memon. The meeting was attended by senior police officials including Karachi Police Chief Jawed Alam Odho.
The officials said the meeting at the Central Police Bureau discussed the second phase of LG elections in Karachi and Hyderabad as well as the by-vote for Karachi NA-245 constituency, with a detailed review of all peace issues and safety, after which further necessary instructions were issued.
Odho said at the meeting that for the second phase of the LG elections and the NA-245 by-election, they have designed range and district level security plans, and ensured deployment accordingly, with pickets of strike and snap checks throughout the city. He gave a detailed briefing, with particular reference to measures such as surveillance.
Memon said that not only should security be kept on high alert during the second phase of the LG elections, but all issues and measures such as surveillance, police patrols and strict surveillance should also be ensured, while similar measures must be taken for the by-election.
He gave instructions that security and deployment should be provided according to plan, and that a peaceful environment should be ensured at each polling station, with full police control in terms of maintaining public order.
He said the manpower available at the district level should be regularly briefed on their responsibilities, while the Riot Reserve and Quick Reaction Force platoons should be kept ready and alert in the respective districts to deal with any emergency that may arise.
He gave clear instructions that for full control of the police in matters of public order, mutual relations must be strengthened at the district level, including the advance collection of intelligence, information sharing with the branch special and rapid follow-up, affirming that these measures must also be reinforced concrete and coordinated.