KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday declined Rangers’ request to install biometric system for the upcoming by-polls for Karachi’s constituency of NA-246, to be held on April 23, said the ECP Secretary Baber Yaqoob.
This was stated by Yaqoob while addressing a press conference along with the Sindh ECP member on Saturday, after he discussed arrangements for NA-246 by-poll with ECP officials and senior government officials. Earlier in the day, he also paid a visit to the constituency.
Yaqoob said that ECP will ensure free, fair and transparent elections in NA-246.
The secretary said though the Rangers’ recommendation to hold election under biometrics system was made in good faith, the ECP is not technically ready for this exercise at the moment.
About the installation of CCTV cameras at polling stations, he said that the provincial government has offered to provide these cameras, and if more of them were needed the ECP will arrange them. However, he made it clear that “there will be no compromise on the sanctity of vote”.
Yaqoob said that Rangers’ personnel, in addition to 7,300 policemen lead by nine Superintendent of Police (SPs), will be deployed in the constituency for ensuring peaceful conduct of the election.
He said that Rangers’ personnel will be deployed in and outside of polling stations for security duty under Article 245 of the Constitution. He further said that, “Presiding officers and rangers personnel at polling stations will have the powers of first class magistrate.”
Answering a question, he clarified that Rangers will be deployed only for security purpose and the Rangers official inside polling station will first report to the presiding officer in case of any irregularity.
He informed that one Rangers official will be deployed inside each polling station.
Replying to another question, he said there will be no load- shedding on polling day in the constituency. On the acceptability of expired Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) for casting of votes, he said that the position will be cleared in this regard before the elections.
The ECP secretary told the media that during the day he paid an unscheduled visit to NA-246 constituency to review the situation. He said he received some complaints about violation of code of conduct and banners.
Yaqoob informed that he had received a written complaint by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) about some allegedly ghost polling stations, adding that the ECP will look into these allegations.
He appreciated the cooperation of Rangers and other functionaries to the ECP to ensure conduct of by-polls in a peaceful, free, fair and transparent manner.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily