The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed preparations for NA-154 by-poll in Lodhran going to be held on December 23.
The ECP has written a letter to the Ministry of Water and Power secretary for uninterrupted supply of electricity in Lodhran on the polling day, said an ECP official.
He said the ECP had also asked the Punjab chief secretary for announcing public holiday on December 23 in Lodhran. He further said that presiding officers have also been given powers of first class magistrate from December 22 to 24.
According to the ECP official, there would be a total of 303 polling stations in the constituency of NA-154 and around 425,000 ballot papers have already been dispatched to the district returning officer.
He said that 20 candidates would participate in the by-election and out of them 12 were independent candidates and eight were contesting on tickets of different political parties.
The ECP has also decided to depute Pakistan Army inside and outside polling stations for the conduct of free and fair by-election. This decision was taken in view of the prevailing law and order situation and on the requests made by the returning officer, and endorsed by district returning officer and Punjab’s Election Commissioner.
Any member of armed forces who is present or deployed under this order shall exercise powers under section 4 and 5 of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997 as amended for the entire duration of deployment, added the official. Pakistan Army personnel will be deployed a day ahead of the polls, he said.
Army personnel (deployed inside and outside) of a polling station while performing their security duties would be authorized to first report to the presiding officer about any irregularity/malpractice.
In case, the presiding officer does not act to prevent the commission, the security staff will immediately bring the matter to the notice of the designated army officer in-charge of the area of the said constituency for taking action in light of the powers delegated to him under this notification.