=> The entry of police, Rangers and personnel from al
The entry of police, Rangers and personnel from all other security agencies has been banned at polling stations all over the country on February 18. The orders were issued on Tuesday by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Unarmed volunteers, police, Rangers and personnel from other law-enforcing agencies will, however, be stationed outside polling stations at all times on February 18.
They can only enter polling stations on the directives of the presiding officers concerned in order to arrest people involved in “creating a law-and-order situation.”
These arrests can be made without a warrant.
A letter addressed to all returning officers (ROs) of national and provincial assembly constituencies was issued by the ECP joint secretary (elections), Iftikhar Ahmed Qureshi. The letter, sent via provincial election commissioners (PECs) concerned, allowed all presiding officers to exercise Section 32 of Representatives of Peoples Act, 1976.
This Section allows presiding officers to order arrests, without warrants, of people creating a law-and-order situation, obstructing the polling process, or indulging in other unlawful activities on polling day.
The ECP however, reminded presiding officers to refrain from exercising their powers under Section 32 to deprive eligible people of their right to vote.
Copies of the ECP letter have been sent to chief secretaries and home secretaries of all four provinces, district returning officers (DROs), district coordination officers (DCOs), deputy election commissioners (DECs) and assistant election commissioners (AECs).
Meanwhile, analysts maintain that the current ECP directives barring the entry of security personnel into polling stations is likely to spark another controversy as some opposition parties were demanding the deployment of Army personnel within polling stations as a deterrence against rigging on February 18.
Source: The News