ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed preparations for NA-154 by-poll in Lodhran, going to be held on December 23.
An election tribunal in August had annulled the results of the 2013 General Election in NA-154, disqualifying PML-N’s Siddique Baloch for possessing fake academic credentials. PTI’s Jahangir Tareen is conesting for the seat and also enjoys backing of Jamaat-e-Islami.
According to the election commission’s spokesman, ECP has written letter to the secretary ministry of water and power for uninterrupted supply of electricity in Lodhran on polling day.
He said that ECP has also asked to the Chief Secretary Punjab for announcing public holiday on December 23, in Lodhran. Moreover, presiding officers have also been given powers of Magistrate of First Class from December 22 to 24, he added.
It may be noted that according to the website of Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan a Magistrate of First Class can hold a summary trial for minor offences and give sentence not exceeding six months.
The ECP official explaining the election day preparations said that there would be total 303 polling stations in NA-154 and around 425,000 ballot papers were printed and dispatched to the district returning officer.
He said that 20 candidates would participate in the by-election and out of them 12 are independents and eight candidates contesting on tickets of different political party tickets.
ECP has also decided to depute Pakistan Army inside and outside polling stations for conducting free, fair and transparent by-polls, the commission’s spokesman said.
The decision to deploy army was taken in view of the prevailing law and order situation and on the requests made by the returning officer, endorsed by district returning officer and the provincial election commissioner of Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2015.