• Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Election Commission of Pakistan Latest updates....

Discussion in 'Pakistan Elections 2018' started by ghazi52, Jul 11, 2018 at 6:19 PM.

  1. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    Election Commission of Pakistan Latest updates.


    ECP gives extended powers to army



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    ISLAMABAD:
    The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given enormous powers, including some relating to election processes, to army personnel to be deployed for election duties like never before.

    In certain situations, the army personnel deployed outside or inside the polling station for security reasons will act as monitor to watch the election processes, including even the conduct of the Presiding Officer and other election staff. Designated army personnel will also be given magistrate powers, which when used could not be questioned as have been linked with Article 245 of the Constitution.

    In certain pure election matters, the army personnel will act as partners to the election staff. For example, the Election Act 2017 says, “The Presiding Officer shall immediately take snapshot of the Result of the Count and, as soon as connectivity is available and it is practicable, electronically send it to the Commission and the Returning Officer before sending the original documents under Section 90.”

    However, in the code of conduct framed for the army and security officials, these security officials have been given the task to “coordinate in a manner that snapshots of Form 45 (result of the count) and tabulated results has been taken and sent through Result Transmission System (RTS) to the ECP and Returning Officer by respective Presiding Officers."

    Although, a Presiding Officer is the overall in-charge of the polling station and as per the law the security personnel are placed under him to assist him in smooth and effective discharge of his lawful duties, under the ECP’s latest code of conduct, these security personnel can act against the Presiding Officer in case of any irregularity or malpractice in election processes and vote counting.

    Under the code of conduct, in case of any irregularity by a polling agent or any member of polling staff or in case of malpractice in counting process, the security personnel shall bring the matter to the knowledge of Presiding Officer and take necessary direction from him in the matter. If irregularity or malpractice continues, the military personnel shall inform his officer in-charge through the fasted means available, who will take action in light of the powers delegated to him and will also inform the Returning Officer.

    The designated officer in-charge of Pakistan Armed Forces/civil armed forces shall exercise powers of Magistrate First Class. The troops deployed for the election duties shall also be governed by Article 245 of the Constitution and Section 4 & 5 of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

    The Article 245 reads as: “245. Functions of Armed Forces.- 1[(1)] The Armed Forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

    (2) The validity of any direction issued by the Federal Government under clause (1), shall not be called in question in any Court.

    (3) A High Court shall not exercise any jurisdiction under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the Armed Forced of Pakistan are, for the time being, acting in aid of civil power in pursuance of Article 245:

    Provided that this clause shall not be deemed to affect the jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of any proceeding pending immediately before the day on which the Armed Forces start acting in aid of civil power.

    (4) Any proceeding in relation to an area referred to in clause (3) instituted on or after the day the Armed Forces start acting in aid of civil power and pending in any High Court shall remain suspended for the period during which the Armed Forces are so acting.”

    According to an ECP notification issued on Tuesday, armed forces officials in-charge at polling stations will have the powers of 'Magistrate First Class' for the period of their deployment "to take cognizance" of certain offences and try them "in a summary way in accordance with the provisions of the said Code relating to summary trials".

    Now with this notification two official will be exercising First Class Magisterial Powers in Polling Station — Presiding Officer and army’s designated officer in-charge.

    The ECP sources said that the role of the army has been extended as against the past to make their presence meaningful for the holding of free, fair and impartial elections. These sources said that their role has been extended to check malpractices and irregularities in the election process.

    There are some who, however, apprehend that with such extended role of the army during the elections, some post election complications may develop. If the army exercises such powers on election day, will they be accountable during the election disputes and tribunal proceedings after election, a source said.

    The source added as per the code of conduct, the army officer in-charge can overrule and overtake role of Presiding Officer, who as per law is the ultimate authority in the polling station. Moreover, it is objected that the officer in-charge of army can act independent of Returning Officer as the code of conduct says that he will act and also inform Returning officer — means not seeking his permission.

    It has also been questioned if the ECP had consulted political parties before giving extended powers to the army.

     
  2. ghazi52

    ghazi52 ELITE MEMBER

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    ECP suspends LB heads till 25th

    ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) suspended on Tuesday all mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice-chairmen of all local government bodies across Pakistan till July 25.

    Similarly, the ECP also suspended local bodies' officials including the chiefs of the cantonment boards across the country. The ECP explained the action had been taken to ensure free and fair elections. The responsibilities have been shifted to the provincial interim governments for carrying out day-to-day affairs of local bodies (LB).

    Moreover, the ECP said that the security officer, managing three-four polling stations, had been given the first-class magistrate powers. In a notification issued here, the ECP said that each designated officer in-charge of armed forces deployed for security at polling stations shall exercise power of magistrate first class. It said deployment of armed forces shall be made for provision of secure environment in conduct of election in free, fair, and transparent manner. The ECP said military troops will be deployed inside and outside all the polling stations from July 23 to July 27. “Armed forces have been given responsibility to make foolproof security arrangements during the printing, stacking and storage of ballot papers. Armed forces shall provide security during transportation of ballot papers and other materials from printing presses to respective polling stations and back to district treasuries or ECP's strong rooms,” it said.

    The notification said the armed forces shall also deploy sufficient number of mobile vigilance teams, Quick Reaction Force and reserves in all constituencies to provide secure environment. The notification reads that the security staff deployed on a polling station is supposed to first report to the presiding officer, then officer in-charge, and returning officers concerned respectively if he finds any irregularity or malpractice during the election process.

    Meanwhile, the ECP rebutted a media report that the military personnel would have a role in result transmission, saying presiding officers would only be responsible for transmission of results after tabulation through result transmission system to the concerned returning officers and the ECP.

    The ECP explained that the security personnel have only such role as para 14 of the Code of Conduct suggests that they would provide peaceful environment at polling stations so that the presiding officers could easily transmit election results in the presence of candidates or their agents.

    Earlier, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan expressed his ‘annoyance’ at the monetary impact of repeated changes in ballot papers due to court rulings with regards to candidates. A five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner, heard a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the allotment of the party's electoral symbol, ‘Tiger’, to Maryam Nawaz's covering candidates. The PML-N lawyers had also filed a similar petition for NA-146 Pakpattan to Rana Zahid’s covering candidate, his son Rana Iradat, after the former was disqualified to contest polls from the constituency.

    Ali Pervaiz is contesting the polls from NA-127 constituency and Irfan Khokhar will represent the PML-N from PP-173 constituency, following Maryam's disqualification from contesting the polls by an accountability court. During the hearing, PML-N lawyers presented their arguments before the bench. They contended that sub-section 3 of the Elections Act 2017’s Clause 4 states that the covering candidate is allotted the party’s electoral symbol.

    The lawyers also informed the court that names of both covering candidates were written on Form 33 submitted to the Election Commission by Maryam from both constituencies. They pleaded the electoral body to review the Form 33 from both NA-127 and PP-173 constituencies. "Till what time will Form 33 be changed?" remarked a member of the Sindh Division of Election Commission. Moreover, chief election commissioner talked about the expense involved in the printing of ballot papers. He maintained, "The printing of ballot papers commenced on July 1; watermarked ballot papers are very expensive. Why don’t the high courts consider the burden of monetary expenditure on the commission.” He claimed that the printing process will not be completed if the trend of court ruling continues. "If few other similar rulings are announced, we will run out of ballot papers," he said.

    The bench then reserved its verdict on the PML-N petition. Afterwards, the bench announced the verdict, accepting the PML-N's petition. The electoral body accepted the PML-N's request to review Form 33 from NA-127, PP-173, and NA-146.

    The ECP has issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for using foul language in party's advertisement campaign. An ECP spokesperson said use of derogatory language was a violation of election code of conduct. He maintained punitive measures would be taken if use of immoral language was not stopped.