ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended on Tuesday all mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice-chairmen of all local government bodies across Pakistan till July 25.
Similarly, the ECP also suspended local bodies’ officials including the chiefs of the cantonment boards across the country. The ECP explained the action had been taken to ensure free and fair elections. The responsibilities have been shifted to the provincial interim governments for carrying out day-to-day affairs of local bodies (LB).
Moreover, the ECP said that the security officer, managing three-four polling stations, had been given the first-class magistrate powers. In a notification issued here, the ECP said that each designated officer in-charge of armed forces deployed for security at polling stations shall exercise power of magistrate first class. It said deployment of armed forces shall be made for provision of secure environment in conduct of election in free, fair, and transparent manner. The ECP said military troops will be deployed inside and outside all the polling stations from July 23 to July 27. “Armed forces have been given responsibility to make foolproof security arrangements during the printing, stacking and storage of ballot papers. Armed forces shall provide security during transportation of ballot papers and other materials from printing presses to respective polling stations and back to district treasuries or ECP’s strong rooms,” it said.
The notification said the armed forces shall also deploy sufficient number of mobile vigilance teams, Quick Reaction Force and reserves in all constituencies to provide secure environment. The notification reads that the security staff deployed on a polling station is supposed to first report to the presiding officer, then officer in-charge, and returning officers concerned respectively if he finds any irregularity or malpractice during the election process.
Meanwhile, the ECP rebutted a media report that the military personnel would have a role in result transmission, saying presiding officers would only be responsible for transmission of results after tabulation through result transmission system to the concerned returning officers and the ECP.
The ECP explained that the security personnel have only such role as para 14 of the Code of Conduct suggests that they would provide peaceful environment at polling stations so that the presiding officers could easily transmit election results in the presence of candidates or their agents.
Source: The News