Threat alerts in some parts of country, ECP told

CEC stresses need for upcoming polls to be held peacefully

Our Correspondent January 18, 2024


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday was informed that there were threat alerts in some parts of the country but no effort will be spared to hold the upcoming polls in a peaceful atmosphere.

In a meeting of the ECP held in the federal capital to review the law and order situation for the next general elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja stressed the need for the polls to be conducted in a peaceful manner.

According to a statement issued by the ECP, the huddle was attended by the chief secretaries and police chiefs of the provinces; Islamabad IG; representatives of other law enforcement agencies; and the commission’s secretary.

Speaking to the participants of the meeting, the CEC said it was the responsibility of the authorities and law enforcement agencies to ensure timely administrative and security arrangements for the peaceful, safe and successful conduct of the upcoming general elections in order to provide a favourable environment for political parties, candidates and voters.

He added the elections should be conducted in a manner in which people could exercise their right to vote without any fear.

The provincial high-ups told the ECP officials that all their arrangements for holding the elections had been completed and they were ready to deal with any kind of situation.

They further told the huddle that the repair work of the flood-hit polling stations was under way at a rapid pace and they would be ready before the elections.

They continued that the arrangements for the installation of CCTV cameras at all the ‘most sensitive’ polling stations had also been completed.

Read also: ECP to install CCTV at highly sensitive polling stations

They maintained that timely supply of funds to all the relevant institutions was being ensured.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary told the meeting that in the snow-hit districts of the province, all the roads and paths would be kept open on the day of the elections and public access to polling stations would be ensured.

The CEC gave instructions that the security of the leaders of all political parties and voters as well as rallies should be ensured. He continued that the election code of conduct should be strictly followed.
The Balochistan chief secretary said peace committees were being established at the polling station level to help maintain a peaceful environment.

The Punjab chief secretary said that clear policy instructions should be issued on the changes in the allotment of electoral symbols so that the polls were not delayed.

The CEC said the printing of ballot papers was under way and if changes were made in the electoral symbols, it would be difficult to hold the polls in those constituencies.

The interior secretary told the meeting that control rooms had been set up at the federal level for the elections.

He added that his ministry was in touch with all the relevant institutions and measures had been completed to assist the ECP in conducting peaceful elections.

The IGPs were assured that wherever there was a reduction in the number of police personnel, it would be met by other security agencies.

Read: Boosted security for tense poll districts

The CEC warned that the negligence of any organisation or polling staff would not be tolerated in the peaceful conduct of elections.

He added that if any candidate or other person violated the election code of conduct, strict action would be taken against them as per the law.

Raja said the elections would be monitored strictly and reiterated that the polls would be held on their scheduled date.

Talking to the media after the meeting, the Punjab IGP maintained that 19 politicians in the province faced security threats.

However, he added that he could not reveal the names of those politicians because of security concerns.

The Punjab police chief said 120,000 security personnel had been deployed for the elections in the province against 60,000 in the previous polls.

However, he claimed that the province was still facing a shortage of 92,000 security personnel at polling stations, He pointed out that there would be over 50,000 polling stations for the upcoming elections.

(With input from our News Desk in Karachi)


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