–ECP says provinces responsible for providing security to political leaders
ISLAMABAD: Army personnel would be deployed both inside and outside polling stations to ensure security during general elections.
This was decided at a meeting held at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday with Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan in the chair.
It was also decided that foolproof security would be provided during printing of the ballot papers. For this purpose, the army would be deployed at Security Printing Press from June 27 to July 25.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the ECP Additional Director General Media said that CCTV cameras would be installed at 20,000 sensitive polling stations in the country. He said close coordination would also be maintained with National Counter Terrorism Authority for security issues.
He said the meeting decided that foolproof security would also be provided to political leaders, adding that it would be the responsibility of the provinces to make necessary arrangements in this regard. Similarly, provincial governments would also provide security to district returning officers, returning officers and presiding officers.
He said the commission expressed satisfaction over security arrangements so far devised for the general elections.
As per a revised election schedule issued by ECP on June 8, the last day to submit nomination papers was extended from June 8 to June 11. The electoral body had earlier said that the date for submission of nomination papers was extended to facilitate political parties.
The deadline to complete the scrutiny of nomination papers was changed from June 14 to June 19. The last day to file appeals against any objection to the decisions of returning officers was extended till June 22.
The verdicts on appeals will be announced by June 27, after which, the revised list of candidates will be issued on June 28. Candidates will be able to withdraw their nomination papers on June 29, and the electoral body will announce the final list of candidates on the same day.
The electoral symbols will be issued to candidates on June 30. Elections will be held on July 25.
Meanwhile, the ECP has identified 383 election candidates as bank defaulters of hundreds of millions of rupees during the scrutiny of their nomination papers.
Among the candidates who owe money to banks or have secured loan waivers is a certain Iftikhar Ahmed Khan, who owes a staggering Rs642 million.
Of the other poll hopefuls, Naveed Mukhtar owes Rs570m, of which over Rs13m was waived; Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh owes Rs560m, of which over Rs14m has been waived; Rashid Yaqoob, who owes Rs528m, of which Rs13m has been waived; Muhammad Khan, a defaulter of Rs23m, and Malik Waheed Khan, a defaulter of Rs5m, with Rs38m waived.
Earlier this week, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had informed the ECP that more than 100 candidates were found to be bank defaulters in its scrutiny process. PPP’s Hina Rabbani Khar and Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo were among the prominent names that the central bank had red-flagged.
The scrutiny process was to be carried out by four federal bodies: the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau, the State Bank of Pakistan and the Federal Board of Revenue.
The ECP says three of the four agencies have wrapped up their part of the process, with the FIA, which is responsible for checking the dual nationality status and Iqama papers of the candidates, yet to submit its report on the matter.
The ECP said that scrutiny of more than 20,000 applicants was conducted and the data of defaulters has been sent to the returning officer. The FIA has asked for 22 days to submit its report.
FIA sources however said that most of the agency’s record is on paper, which is why it will need more time.