RAWALPINDI: All is set to hold the general elections on Wednesday 25th July as all the arrangements including security, have been finalized for conducting polls in the free, fair and transparent manner in Rawalpindi division.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sources, the basic facilities including electricity, drinking water, toilets for the polling staff and voters at all polling stations have been ensured in Rawalpindi division. The election campaign would terminate on the midnight falling between Monday and Tuesday.
The Commission had finalized Polling Schemes for seven National Assembly and 15 Provincial Assembly of the Punjab constituencies of Rawalpindi district while 6200 polling booths including 3,200 for male and 3,000 for female voters are being set up for polling. Total 2,576 Polling Stations have been set up in the district where 3,125,669 voters including 1,647,507 male and 1,478,162 female voters will cast their ballot to elect representatives of their choice.
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has activated the Result Transmission Service (RTS) to enable Returning Officers to send results to the ECP through the service. NADRA teams visited the offices of Returning Officers to activate RTS and according to the ECP, the presiding and assistant presiding officers have been given the software to use through smartphones. The presiding officers who did not have smartphones, the software linked to the smartphones of their respective subordinate staff which will be used to onward pass on the results of respective constituency after compilation.
Printing of ballot papers has also been completed while polling equipment already distributed among the ROs. ECP has also reviewed the preparations for the general elections and directed the provincial chief secretaries to ensure the security of Returning Officers and Polling staff in their respective provinces. The District Returning Officers and Returning Officers were appointed mostly from the lower judiciary, while the assistant returning officers were selected from the civil bureaucracy – mainly district administration group.
The District Returning Officer (DRO) Rawalpindi Muhammad Khalid Nawaz received election material including ballot boxes, seals, polling booths, ink, ballot papers and other necessary items which have been kept in double lock up under a tight security arrangement. The Commission has directly given election material to the concerned Returning Officers (ROs) in this regard. Training of polling staff, screens for the compartment and seating arrangements for presiding officers in the constituencies have also been completed. The election commission has constituted a control room in every constituency of the district where one returning officer (RO) would remain present all the time to monitor the elections and polling activities through cameras installed in the polling
Meanwhile, the DRO had directed the District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA), Secretary Khalid Yameen Satti to immediately arrange over 1,000 buses and wagons to dispatch the election material and election staff to their relative polling stations on the polling Day. Talking to APP, the Secretary RTA informed that the arrangement of buses and wagons would be finalized here till Monday. In the Rawalpindi District 104 polling stations have been declared as highly sensitive while 91 others have been termed as sensitive.
According to officials of the ECP, polling schemes for the seven National Assembly (NA) and 15 Provincial Assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi district had been finalized.
As many as 75 candidates are competing for the NA seats while 166 candidates are vying for the PA seats. There are six heavyweight candidates in the running including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, former federal minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Raja Qamar-ul-Islam. Dr. Hasan Askari in a recently held high-level meeting here at Commissioner Office reviewed election arrangements. He also took important decisions for holding free, fair, transparent and peaceful general election. He directed the authorities to ensure the best possible security arrangements for the polling day. According to Commissioner Office Rawalpindi, as many as 6,132 cops will perform security duty in Rawalpindi district while 2,754 will be deployed in Attock district. Similarly, 1,841 police officials will be on security duty in Jhelum and nearly 2,141 in Chakwal district.
Strict monitoring of polling stations will be carried out through CCTV cameras and district monitoring officers are monitoring the steps taken for implementation of the code of conduct issued by Election Commission of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Rawalpindi police have also finalized election security plan. According to City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan, the police are taking all possible measures to maintain law and order during the election campaign and for the polling day.
The CPO informed that the ban on display of weapons will be implemented in letter and spirit and no one would be allowed to violate the ban. He said that the polling stations in Rawalpindi were categorized as A, B and C for security purposes. As part of security arrangements, the CPO said that the district had been divided into sectors and
sub-sectors. Each police station in the district constitutes one sector while a contingent of reserve police personnel will be at the disposal of the police station and will act accordingly as and when required bases by the relevant police station. Meanwhile, polling stations have been divided into sub-sectors of 20 police stations, with each sub-sector assigned two police personnel on a motorbike and a patrol van with six police personnel. He said the authorities concerned have been requested for deployment of 1200 extra police personnel to assist the local
According to ECP sources, NA-59, Rawalpindi-III, is the most sensitive constituency in Rawalpindi district having 31 highly sensitive and seven sensitive Polling Stations (PSs). The administration on the directive of caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hasan Askari has finalized tight security arrangements for A, B & C category polling stations (PSs) in Rawalpindi Division as 606 Polling Stations (PSs) set up for election have been declared highly sensitive and 1036 sensitive in Rawalpindi Division including Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Islamabad. Over 12,841 police personnel will be deployed at 5,328 polling stations in four districts of Rawalpindi division including Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum, and Chakwal.
Meanwhile, the security plan for the polling stations falling under the administrative control of Islamabad capital territory has been finalized by the Islamabad administration separately. According to the administrative division by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad is part of the Rawalpindi region. Out of 786 polling stations of the
federal capital, 26 have been declared highly sensitive, 87 sensitive and 673 normal in the federal capital. 1,069 polling stations of Attock district include 301 highly sensitive, 532 sensitive while 236 are normal.
Rawalpindi district which would have 2,576 total polling stations including 145 highly sensitive, 99 sensitive and 2332 normal while Chakwal district has total 925 polling stations with 74 highly sensitive, 217 sensitive and 634 normal. Similarly, Jhelum would have 60 highly sensitive, 101 sensitive and 597 normal in total 758 polling stations of the district.
Punjab: 358 newly-elected MPAs take oath!
LAHORE: As many as 358 newly-elected members sworn in during a maiden session of 17th Punjab Assembly here today.
Outgoing speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal administered the oath. Prominent among others who took oath include: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Aleem Khan, Hamza Shehbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, Shujaur Rehman, Ayesha Chaudhry, Chaudhry Zaheerud Din, Bilal Yasin, Nadeem Kamran, Irfan Doltana, Murad Ras, Dr Mukhtar Bharat, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Bushra Anjum Butt and Sania Ashiq.
The outgoing speaker felicitated the newly-elected members. Earlier, the first session of new assembly started at10.46 am behind its scheduled time with recitation from the Holy Quran and Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool (SAWW). The members signed the roll of members in the register constituency-wise.
The outgoing speaker read out the procedure for election of speaker and deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly to be held on Thursday (August 16) at 10:30 am. The election will be through secret balloting.
The nomination papers for the slots were filed in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. The PTI nominated Chaudhry Pervez Elahi as a speaker and Dost Muhammad Mazari as deputy speaker while PML-N nominated Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar and Rana Ayyaz as a speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the majority party in Punjab Assembly has nominated Hamza Shehbaz Sharif for the slot of Punjab chief minister. Its rival, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, yet to name its candidate for the position.
PML-N leads with 127 seats in the assembly, while PTI is a close second with 122 seats, as per the ECP’s results of 294 out of 295 total seats.
Interim Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hassan Askari and his cabinet members attended the session and welcomed the newly- elected MPAs.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Assembly staff welcomed the newly-elected members of the assembly with bouquets on their arrival to attend the maiden session of the 17th assembly.
The PA administration had also set up help desks for the members where each member issued his assembly card before joining the oath-taking session.
Prominent leader Chaudhry Nisar did not attend the session. Strict security arrangements were made to avert any untoward incident.
On completion of day’s agenda, the Chair adjourned the session till next morning on Thursday at 10:30 am.
Indonesia expresses support for Turkey, Erdogan
JAKARTA: The Indonesian Council of Ulama on Wednesday expressed strong support for Turkey against the United States’ recent economic attacks.
Head of the council’s external affairs committee, Muhyiddin Junaidi, told Anadolu Agency that they support Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance against the U.S.
Stressing that the U.S. targeted Muslim countries and tried to curb Turkey’s power in the region, Junaidi said that Muslim world must use their own currency in trade among themselves against the U.S. dollar.
Junaidi praised Turkey’s economy and its commercial value and added that Turkey would overcome the U.S.’ attacks.
Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges.
Brunson’s charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.
Malik Rafique Rajwana resigns from the office of Governor Punjab
LAHORE: Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana Wednesday announced to resign from the office.
Talking to media at the Lahore High Court Bar,Rajwana said he sent his resignation to President Mamnoon Hussain. He said that the party (PML-N) leadership entrusted him the responsibility which he tried to fulfill to the best of his abilities.
“Bar is my home and I have returned to it.I started my career with a black coat.Today I will wear it again”, he added.It is pertinent to mention here that Rafique Rajwana served as Governor for more than three years. He was appointed to the post in May 2015.