Alarmed at the prospects of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance’s rally going untoward, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday approached the government for arranging foolproof security arrangements on January 19.
The development came after the 11-party alliance, which had begun the second phase of its campaign against the government, announced earlier this month that it would protest outside the ECP on January 19 against a delay in the conclusion of the foreign funding case.
In this regard, the ECP approached the Islamabad administration, seeking allocation of a specified area for the planned PDM protest.
In a letter to the chief commissioner of Islamabad, the ECP said that the PDM should be allowed to protest only in a specific area adjacent to the Constitution Avenue, adding that if the protesters were allowed from all sides, the election officials would not be able to reach the offices.
The ECP in its letter urged the Islamabad administration to take steps so that its working would not be affected by the protest. The letter said that the route coming from the Comptroller General’s Office would be used by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the ECP members to reach the offices.
The letter further said that the ECP officials would ensure that no vehicles were parked in the parking lot, while the Science Foundation and the COMSATS would also be asked to provide assistance with the parking.
The ECP has also issued guidelines for its officers and employees in connection with the PDM protest. An ECP notification said that all employees would bring office cards with them on January 19 for security clearance to the Election Commission Secretariat.
Sources told The Express Tribune that an official of the ECP also brief the interior ministry about the need to maintain security around the office premises.
By-polls code of conduct
Meanwhile, the CEC has directed for strict implementation of the code of conduct in the upcoming by-polls and warned of action against in case of any violation. In this regard, he directed the election staff not to hesitate in seeking help from district administration, police or if necessary, the Rangers.
CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja issued these instructions to the provincial election commissioners, district returning officers, returning officers and district monitoring officers in connection with the upcoming by-elections in 9 constituencies across the country.
The CEC directed that if any government employee tried to influence the election or any government employee participated in the election campaign of a candidate, strict legal action should be taken.
The instructions came as the ECP issued notice to the managing director of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) on violation of electoral code of conduct during by-polls in NA-75 Sialkot. The ECP also directed the Sialkot district police officer to take action in this regard.
The notice said that SNGPL Regional Manager in Sialkot violated the code of conduct by launching a development scheme in NA-75 constituency despite a ban. In addition, it asked police to provide special security to all the officers posted in the district.