ISLAMABAD–The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided on Thursday to conduct by-elections in Karachi’s constituency NA-246, Azizabad, under the supervision of Rangers.
He further informed that the Rangers deployed at the polling stations will be authorised with Magistrate of First Class to officially monitor and assure smooth conduct of the election process on April 23.
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PTI candidate Imran Ismail.
Earlier, the Sindh election commissioner had demanded Rangers deployment in the NA-246 constituency with immediate effect till the completion of polling process on April 23 amid fears of ‘violence’ considering the tense situation prevailing in Azizabad between two of the contesting parties.
A senior official told on Monday that the request for the deployment had been forwarded to the chief election commissioner ‘through a proper channel’ for better security in the constituency to provide free and peaceful environment for electioneering and polling.
“The deployment of troops inside or outside the polling stations is a technical issue that can be addressed later,” said Syed Nadim Haider, returning officer for the NA-246 by-election. He said the recent incidents during the election campaigns convinced the authorities to seek Rangers assistance for security and it would be wise not to wait till the polling day to request for the deployment.
The NA-246 constituency, which lies in Karachi’s Azizabad area, was left vacant last month after then Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Nabeel Gabol resigned from his seat.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has repeatedly demanded Rangers deployment, showing concerns over security situation and transparent election without the Rangers presence.
Kunwar Naveed Jameel, the MQM candidate from the constituency, had recently told the media that his party would not have any objection to the deployment of troops for fair and free elections.
However, the Jamaat-i-Islami has expressed concern over the deployment of local body employees as polling staff most of whom the party said were associated with a particular party.
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