CEC reviews security arrangements for Punjab by-elections

LAHORE: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja chaired a meeting at the Civil Secretariat here on Saturday, to discuss the modalities of the by-elections, which will be held in 20 provincial constituencies in 14 districts of Punjab on July 17, 2022.

Election Commission Members, Chief Secretary Punjab Kamran Afzal, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Home Syed Ali Murtaza, Inspector General of Punjab Police (IGP) Rao Sardar Ali Khan, Additional Chief Executive Punjab Rangers, Secretaries from relevant provincial departments, Lahore Commissioner and other senior officers attended the meeting, while Commissioners from other respective districts participated via video link.

The assembly was informed that approximately 3,141 polling stations would be installed in these constituencies and that a total of 175 candidates were running for the by-elections.

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja said maintaining public order and safety of election workers and voters is the responsibility of the federal and provincial governments and their role in the electoral process is very important. He added that it was the responsibility of provincial institutions to ensure peace during the elections. He warned that strict action would be taken against those involved in misconduct and irregularities in the elections, saying violators would be prosecuted under the penal code and relevant election laws. If a public official violated the code of conduct or acted against the law on Election Day, action would be taken against them without any discrimination, he warned.

He further said that the Electoral Commission had sent letters to relevant agencies for the deployment of army personnel or rangers outside all sensitive polling stations, especially four constituencies in Lahore and one in Multan. It would also be ensured that all candidates and political parties have equal rights in elections.

The CEC said the by-elections had become even more important due to the re-election of Punjab’s chief minister on July 22, adding that the law enforcement agencies were responsible for maintaining law and order. He ordered the Chief Secretary of Punjab to make it clear to the provincial government that violation of the code of conduct would not be tolerated under any circumstances and if anyone violated it, strict action would be taken against them. He said misconduct could also lead to disqualification from the election, apart from the initiation of criminal charges in this regard.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Afzal briefed the meeting on the preparations for the by-elections and promised that the provincial government would give all possible support to the Election Commission in this regard.

The IGP also briefed the participants on the security arrangements and assured that the police and other law enforcement agencies would carry out their duties with the utmost honesty and diligence to maintain public order during the process. electoral. The Rangers and other officials have also assured the Electoral Commission of their full support in maintaining law and order.

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