Rangers, Pak Army, and Frontier Constabulary would be deployed for by-elections in Punjab on July 17, it has been decided.
The decision was made during a meeting presided over by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to examine security arrangements in advance of the Punjab by-elections. Officials from the Interior Ministry and security bureaus were present during the meeting.
The participants discussed the law and order situation during the July 17 by-elections, as well as the letter from Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Raja Sultan on the deployment of soldiers in certain constituencies.
During the conference, participants acknowledged their satisfaction with the security measures in the by-election constituencies. During the Punjab by-elections, it was resolved to deploy the Army, Rangers, and Frontier Constabulary.
Meanwhile, during by-elections in Punjab and Sindh, the meeting has decided to prohibit of exhibition and ownership of weaponry. On July 16 and 17, the Interior Ministry will set up a special control room.
Rana Sanaullah has urged provincial governments and law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to maintain law and order during the Sindh and Punjab by-elections. However, mass irregularities were witnessed in Sindh by-elections just recently.
The by-elections for the 20 Punjab Assembly seats that were vacated after PTI MPs voted for Humza Shehbaz in the CM elections will be held on July 17, 2022.
The outcome of the by-elections would be critical for the CM vote count ordered by Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the Punjab Assembly on 22 July this year.
To achieve a majority in the Punjab assembly for election as Chief Minister in the country’s largest province, the PML-N must win a total of at least 9 seats.
It is pertinent to note that the Army Chief & DG ISI have repeatedly issued orders of non-interference in local politics. Deployment of the Army in Punjab by-elections was earlier denied by the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Army’s deployment comes only days after PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced that the party will mobilize its workers to prevent election-day rigging.
In his election campaign speeches, Imran Khan has alleged Mr. X & Mr. Y of electoral rigging in favor of the PDM alliance.
Many say Mr. X is the ISI sector commander for Lahore Brigadier Rashid Naseer. Mr. Y on the other hand is claimed to be Brigadier Tanvir, with Khan alleging Tanvir of being sent on a mission to rig elections against PTI candidate in Multan.