Home Latest News ECP Seeks Army’s Assistance for Upcoming By-polls, Local Body Elections

ECP Seeks Army’s Assistance for Upcoming By-polls, Local Body Elections

In letter to Army chief, CEC says military security necessary to cope with certain situations beyond the control of civil law enforcers

by Newsweek Pakistan

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sent a letter to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa requesting “full security assistance” for upcoming by-elections and local government elections in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

According to local media, the letter was penned by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who sought security coverage for the first and second phases of the Sindh local government elections on June 25 and July 24, respectively. Similarly, the letter has also sought military security for the July 17 by-elections on 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly; the by-election in PK-7, Swat-VI on June 26 and the by-election in NA 245, Karachi East-IV on July 27.

Praising the Army’s support in ensuring a “secure and safe” environment for the conduct of elections whenever its assistance has been requested by the ECP, the CEC referred to recently-held local government elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan as proof that the Army had maintained law and order in vulnerable areas in an outstanding manner.

The Election Commission, read the letter, expected the same level of support for the conduct of upcoming polls, adding that certain situations beyond the control of civil law-enforcement agencies required a more proactive and enhanced role of the Army. In this regard, wrote the CEC, Article Article 220 of the Constitution obligated all executive authorities to help the ECP and CEC fulfill their duties.

There has been a surge in politically-motivated unrest across Pakistan amidst the ongoing polarization instigated by the ouster of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. Violence during the NA-240 by-elections in Karachi last week resulted in one death, while clashes between PTI and PMLN workers have also been reported in Lahore ahead of the Punjab Assembly by-polls, resulting in several injuries.

In a statement, the ECP said it had taken notice of the incidents and summoned PMLN candidate Nazir Ahmed Chohan and PTI candidate Shabbir Ahmed on June 23 in this regard, adding that the Lahore Capital City Police Officer had also been summoned to brief the ECP on the investigation of the case.

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