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Security personnel to have a major role in elections

09 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Security personnel will have a role in the transmission of the results of the July 25 general elections from polling stations to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The Code of Conduct issued by the ECP says: “While performing duties inside the polling stations [the security personnel shall] coordinate in a manner that snapshot of Form 45 (Result of the Count) and tabulated result has been taken and sent through Result Transmission System (RTS) to (the) Election Commission and returning officer by respective presiding officers.”

The commission has advised the security personnel to “be aware of the fact that polling agent of each candidate who observed the counting process is, by law, allowed to take copy of Form-45 (Result of the Count) and Form-46 (Ballot Paper Account) from presiding officer. Similarly observer, if any, who is present at the time of counting, may also receive the aforesaid copies of the forms from the presiding officer”.

The ECP has barred the security personnel from taking any action on their own without prior permission of presiding officers or higher authorities even if they see any irregularity or malpractice during the poll process.

“Pakistan armed forces / civil armed forces personnel (deployed inside and outside) a polling station while performing their duties are supposed to first report to the presiding officer any irregularity / malpractice, they observe inside or outside of polling station and act according to the instructions issued by him in that regard in case. In case, the presiding officer does not act to prevent the commission of any reported irregularity / malpractice, the security staff will immediately bring the matter to the notice of the designated officer-in-charge of Pakistan armed forces / civil armed forces, who shall take action in light of the powers delegated to him and also immediately inform the returning officer concerned,” reads the Code of Conduct.

“It is the responsibility of the presiding officer to keep order at the polling station and may remove and cause to be removed any person who misconducts himself / herself at a polling station or fails to obey any lawful orders of the presiding officer. Security personnel will assist presiding officer in smooth and effective discharge of his lawful duties,” it further says.

The security personnel have been asked to “remain impartial and neutral throughout the election process in general and during the voting process in particular and shall not act in favour of or against any political party or candidate in any manner whatsoever”.

The ECP has directed the security personnel to “observe politeness, display immaculate behaviour while remaining firm and just in dealing in accordance with the law while addressing any situation and dealing with voters and polling staff”.

The main task of the security personnel will be to “ensure that peaceful, friendly, safe and conducive environment is provided to the voters outside the polling stations and voters are neither intimidated nor hampered from voting in any manner whatsoever”.

The security personnel can “frisk / check each voter before entering premises of the polling station to ensure that no person can bring with himself / herself any weapon / explosive or undesirable item, including mobile phones, which could sabotage the polling process”.

The accredited observers and media persons will be allowed to enter a polling station for a brief duration. “Media persons shall be allowed along with camera for making footage of the voting process or counting process, however, they shall not make footage of the screened off compartment to maintain the secrecy of ballot.”

The commission has directed the security personnel belonging to law enforcement agencies deputed on election duty not to ask the voters to produce their Parchees or prove their identity as this is the duty of polling officer. They have also been advised not to act in such manner which may draw an impression of their being partial or biased and they cannot “in any case assume the duties of polling staff”.

The security personnel are not allowed to take into their custody any election material, including ballot papers, marking aid stamps, official code mark stamps, electoral rolls, ballot boxes, etc.

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