ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has expressed grave concerns over Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to deploy troops inside the polling stations in the bye-elections in PS-II, Larkana II scheduled for October 17.
Secretary General Farhatullah Babar expressed this concern through a letter addressed to the chief election commissioner (CEC). The letter was delivered to ECP on Oct 15.
Farhatullah Babar in his letter said, “According to the ECP notification army officers and JCOs will not only have magisterial powers for the entire duration of deployment but also additional powers to override Presiding Officers on the presumption that the civilian Presiding Officer has failed to act on any complaint of unspecified irregularity/malpractice. Further the troops will be deployed under Article 245 of the constitution thus effectively ousting the jurisdiction of courts against any act of omission or commission by the troops.”
Babar further wrote in his letter “The party believes that the presence of troops wearing intimidating gear inside polling stations and armed with magisterial powers militates against the holding of free and fair elections, a constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The party is opposed to the deployment of troops inside polling stations anytime and anywhere.”
The letter has urged ECP to reconsider the decision of posting troops inside polling stations in the interest of free and fair elections.