Army, civil armed forces to be deployed for Sunday’s by-polls

In Local
April 20, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

Enhanced security measures have been implemented in anticipation of tomorrow’s by-elections nationwide, with the federal government approving the deployment of civil armed forces and Pakistan Army troops to avoid any untoward incidents from happening.

According to Express News, these forces will function as a Quick Response Force, positioned as second and third tiers behind the police.

Following approval from the federal government, the Ministry of Interior has issued a notification for the deployment of security troops for tomorrow’s by-elections.

The notification specifies that civil armed forces and Pakistan Army troops will be stationed in 21 constituencies from today until April 22nd.

It’s worth noting that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had formally requested security assistance from the federal government for the by-elections.

Meanwhile, preparations are completed for the by-elections on five national and 16 provincial assembly seats across Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), and Balochistan scheduled for Sunday.

Polling will proceed without interruption from 8am to 5pm for seats vacated by candidates who won multiple seats or where polling was delayed in February 8 general elections due to the death of a candidate.

The polling will be conducted across five National Assembly seats, 12 Punjab Assembly seats, two K-P Assembly seats, and as many Balochistan Assembly seats. According to the ECP, the re-polling in PB 50 Killa Abdullah will be also held on Sunday.

The polling for NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur was delayed on February 8 following the assassination of a candidate, Rehan Zeb Khan. Additionally, polling will take place in NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan, where the National Assembly seat was relinquished by Ali Amin Gandapur, who opted to retain his provincial assembly seat in order to assume the role of K-P’s chief minister.

Read also: Stage set for by-elections

Similarly, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif vacated her NA-119 seat in Lahore, choosing instead to keep the PP-159 constituency that she also won.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif won elections on two provincial and National Assembly seats. He left the NA-132 Kasur and Lahore’s PP-158 and PP-164 seats vacant, preferring to retain the NA-123 Lahore constituency.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari won two National Assembly seats. He retained the NA-194 Larkana constituency, leaving the NA-196 seat in Qamber Shahdadkot vacant.

The ECP has provided 6.23 million ballot papers to the relevant Returning Officers (ROs) for tomorrow’s by-elections in 21 constituencies.

Approximately 2.55 million Pakistanis are expected to participate in voting for the five National Assembly constituencies, while around 3.61 million individuals will cast their votes for 16 provincial assembly seats nationwide.

A total of 174 candidates are contesting in the by-elections for 12 provincial constituencies in Punjab, where the voter count stands at approximately 4.04 million.

Read: Balochistan reviews by-poll readiness

According to the ECP, the by-elections for two provincial constituencies of K-P have a total of 1.47 million voters. In the race, there are 49 candidates, and 892 polling stations have been set up, with 139 identified as sensitive.

In NA-196 in Sindh, two candidates will compete, with 423,781 voters eligible to cast their ballots across 303 polling stations, 158 of which are sensitive, according to the ECP.

The ECP has announced that by-elections will take place for two provincial constituencies, PB-20 and PB-22, in Balochistan. A total of 396,246 voters in the province will participate, with 354 polling stations designated for the process.

Nine candidates, including Ali Pervaiz and Shehzad Farooq, are vying for the National Assembly seat NA-119, while 11 candidates, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Malik Riaz independent and Muhammad Khan Madani, are competing in PP-147.

Additionally, 14 candidates, including Muhammad Shoaib Siddiqui and Qaiser Shehzad from the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party, are contesting in PP-149. In PP-158, there are 22 candidates, with Chaudhry Nawaz and Moonis Elahi of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) among them.

Furthermore, PP-164 has 20 candidates in the fray, with PML-N leader Rashid Minhas and Muhammad Yusuf of the SIC among the contenders.

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