ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to deploy Pakistan Rangers Punjab in the upcoming bye-elections in NA-122, NA-144, NA-154, PP-147 and PP-16 constituencies of Punjab, said a press release issued on Monday.
The by-polls in NA-122 Lahore-V, NA-144 Okara-II, NA-154 Lodhran-I, PP-147 Lahore-XI constituencies are scheduled to be held on October 11 and on October 6 in PP-16 Attock-II.
According to the ECP handout, the decision was taken by the commission in view of the volatile law and order situation in the country as well as demands of Provincial Election Commissioner Punjab, District Returning Officers, Returning Officers and the political parties.
The ECP also sent letters to the Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Defence and the Government of Pakistan asking them to issue necessary directions for deployment of sufficient strength of Rangers personnel for the said constituencies under intimation to ECP.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Punjab (PTI) organiser Chaudhry Sarwar earlier demanded the deployment of Rangers in upcoming by-polls in the province saying that free, fair and transparent by-polls in Punjab are out of question without direct supervision of the electoral exercise by the Pakistan Army and Rangers.
Previously, Punjab election commission’s tribunal had ordered re-polling in National Assembly constituency, NA-122, declaring the election in the constituency null and void – accepting Imran Khan’s petition challenging the 2013 election result in which Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had emerged victorious.
Later, the tribunal had also announced its verdict in favour of Jahangir Tareen over a petition filed by the former secretary general of PTI against alleged rigging in NA-154 (Lodhran).
The tribunal deseated Pakistan Muslim League—Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Muhammad Siddique Khan Baloch and ordered re-election in the constituency.
The NA-144 seat fell vacant when an election tribunal de-seated PML-N MNA Muhammad Arif Chaudhry in August for holding a fake degree.
The tribunal also set aside the election of Mohsin Latif — a nephew of Kulsoom Nawaz — who was elected from PP-147 constituency.
The PP-16 seat fell vacant after the killing of Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada in a suicide attack on Aug 16.
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