World | Pakistan

Army to protect poll staff

Ministry of defence issues notification of army deployment

  • By Mohammad Ashraf, Correspondent
  • Published: 18:03 January 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

Karachi: The ministry of defence on Tuesday issued a notification of army deployment in Karachi for the safety of election commission staff who will start verifying voters’ lists in lines with the Supreme Court’s orders, sources said.

They said all the law enforcement agencies, including the Pakistani Army, would accompany the staff of the Pakistan Election Comission (PEC) in Karachi. The other forces, including the paramilitary frontier constabulary, rangers and police, would reinforce the army.

Karachi has been divided into four zones for vote verification and PEC staff will go door to door in all the four sectors. The army and other law enforcement agencies, the ministry notification says, will only provide security and will not be part of verifying process.

There are some 8.4 million registered voters in Karachi. The election commission also has to carry the delimitation of the electoral constituencies of Karachi, as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The court’s decision on vote verification and constituency lines was challenged by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who said it was unconstitutional.

The party, which enjoys the mandate from Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh province, filed two review petitions late last month claiming that redrawing the electoral boundaries of Karachi was illegal, and it could not be done before a national census, including head and house counts.

The MQM also argued in the petition that singling out Karachi for delimitation was reflective of a biased approach.

The MQM’s chief in exile Altaf Hussain also remarked on a Supreme Court decision in which the court served him a contempt notice.

On Monday, however, Hussain submitted his unconditional apology to the Supreme Court, which disposed of the case by granting Hussain’s submission.

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