Tuesday Jun 21, 2022
ISLAMABAD: In a significant development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sent a letter to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday requesting full security assistance for the conduct of by-elections and local government elections in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
ECP sources told The News that Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja penned a letter to the army chief requesting security coverage for the first and second phases of the Sindh local government elections on June 25 and July 24, respectively.
Military security has also been requested for the crucial by-elections to be held on July 17 in 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly, for the by-election in PK-7, Swat-VI on June 26 and for the by-election in NA 245, Karachi East-IV on July 27.
The development comes after violence in NA 240 by-poll in Karachi last week claimed one life while clashes were reported from Lahore between the workers of PTI and PML-N ahead of by-polls.
According to sources, the CEC wrote that the ECP was proud of the Pakistan Army's support in providing a secure and safe environment throughout the conduct of general elections, by-elections, and municipal elections whenever the Election Commission requested such assistance.
According to reports, he stated that the recently held local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (phases I and II) and Balochistan are evidence that army formations maintained law and order in vulnerable areas in an outstanding manner.
The Election Commission, he noted, expects the same level of support for the conduct of these electoral processes regardless of the situation, and it is essential to emphasise that certain situations beyond the control of civil law-enforcement agencies will necessitate a more proactive and enhanced role of the army, at times necessitating the saving of citizens' lives and limbs.
The CEC noted that according to Article 220, all executive authorities are obligated to help the Election Commission and the CEC in carrying out their tasks.
The CEC also penned a letter to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, regarding the forthcoming elections in his province. The letter stated that the ECP expects the same commitment from the executive authorities for maintaining law and order in the area of constituency during the conduct of elections, particularly in areas with a history of political conflict or violence.