ECP takes notice of violence, ‘irregularities’ during voting

Mumtaz Alvi
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Sunday took notice of violent incidents and alleged irregularities during the by-elections held in five National Assembly and 16 provincial assemblies’ constituencies in all the four provinces of the country.

The ECP took notice of the death of a political worker during the by-election in PP-54 constituency of Narowal and sought a report from the authorities concerned. In this regard, the chief election commissioner (CEC) himself spoke to the district police officer (DPO) concerned and ordered immediate legal action against those responsible and said the ECP should be informed.

The ECP took notice of presiding officer in PP-149, Lahore, having got signed Form 45 from polling agents and sought a report from the Punjab election commissioner immediately. “The Election Commission has sought the report so that further legal action could be taken in this connection,” said the spokesman for the commission here.

Likewise, the ECP took notice of reports of armed men entering the polling station at PB-50, Qila Abdullah. The CEC personally contacted inspector general of police (IGP), Balochistan, over telephone and sought a report on the matter and directed him to take strict action against those responsible.

Similarly, the ECP sought a report from the provincial election commissioner Balochistan and deputy commissioner Qila Abdullah on the alleged abduction of polling staff of PB-50 Qila Abdullah on the request of various candidates and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party. According to an ECP spokesman, Qila Abdullah DC said there was no incident of kidnapping of polling staff. However, the ECP has asked the DC to submit a written report in this regard so that appropriate decision could be made on the applications. The CEC also visited the control room set up at the Election Commission Secretariat and described the arrangements as satisfactory. Separately, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja spoke to the chief secretaries and provincial election commissioners by phone on the conduct of by-elections and issued instructions to ensure peaceful and transparent conduct of the exercise. He emphasized that it should be ensured that copies of Form 45 are provided to agents of all the candidates at the polling stations.

The CEC also contacted the regional election commissioners, deputy commissioners and returning officers of all the sensitive constituencies, urging them to monitor the electoral process and ensure the conduct of transparent elections. He also urged the candidates participating in the by-elections to instruct their polling agents to get a copy of Form 45 from the presiding officers concerned.