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ECP rejects PTI’s request for army deployment in cantonment polls

Polls are scheduled for September 12 for 42 cantonment boards. (Source: Geo)

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) request for army deployment in the September 12 elections of the 42 cantonment boards across the country.

A private news channel while quoting sources reported that the electoral body informed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of its decision in writing.

The demand for army dep­loyment was made by PTI chief organiser Senator Saif­ullah Khan Nyazee thro­ugh a letter to Chief Ele­ction Com­m­issioner (CEC) Sikan­dar Sultan Raja, two days after opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) threatened to launch an agitation “if the government attempts to rig the poll”.

“The past record of such elections without the security provided by the armed forces of Pakistan is not reassuring either, especially in large metropolitan cities like Karachi and Lahore,” he writes in the letter, a copy of which was released to the media by the PTI.

Therefore, he says, in the interest of free and fair elections, “it is our considered opinion that army shall be requested to assist in maintaining law and order inside and outside of the polling stations”.

The September 12 cantonment board elections will be the first grassroots level electoral contest between the country’s arch rival political parties after the 2018 general elections. The elections have been pending since 2019 due to COVID-19 pandemic and re-demarcation of wards in the cantonments.

The cantonment boards where elections are being held are Rawalpindi, Chaklala, Wah, Taxila, Murree, Attock, Sanjwal, Kamra, Jhelum, Mangla, Sargodha, Shorkot, Gujranwala, Kharian, Sialkot, Lahore, Walton, Okara, Multan and Bahawalpur (Punjab); Hyderabad, Karachi, Clifton, Malir, Faisal, Korangi, Manora and Pano Aqil (Sindh); Peshawar, Cherat, Risalpur, Nowshera, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbottabad, Murree Galyat and Havelian (KP); and Quetta, Zhob and Loralai (Balochistan).