IHC turns down plea for election delay in NA-60

  • Over 3,000 policemen to perform security duties on by-election day

ISLAMABAD: A bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday dismissed a petition seeking to postpone by-election on a National Assembly seat NA-60 in Rawalpindi.

The bench headed by Justice Amir Farooq had earlier reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from petitioner Shahid Orakzai who sought its directives for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to defer the upcoming by-poll in the constituency until a decision on former minister and PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s appeal against life term.

The Election Commission is set to hold the by-elections on 11 National Assembly seats, including NA-60, and 26 provincial assembly seats on October 14. In July, the Election Commission had postponed polls in the NA-60 in the wake of Hanif Abbasi’s disqualification in the ephedrine case.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, having taken cognizance of all the attending circumstances, is bound to provide level playing field to the contestants under the constitution and the law, particularly Section 4 of Election Act 2017.

The Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) Court of Rawalpindi handed down life term to Abbasi in the case related to misuse of controlled chemical ephedrine. The former minister was contesting election against Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed from the NA-60 and the PML-N had no covering candidate in the constituency at that time.

ELECTION DAY: The Islamabad Police have decided to deploy more than 3000 policemen outside the polling stations in NA-53 to ensure effective security arrangements and conducive environment for voters during the by-election on October 14. After brainstorming sessions with all stakeholders, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Amin Bukhari chalked out an elaborate security plan to ensure foolproof security arrangements.

He said that a total of 3000 policemen will perform security duties on polling day in the capital while NA-53 has been divided into four zones, six sectors and nine sub-sectors. Every zone will be supervised by an officer of SP level while sectors and sub-sectors will be headed by ASP/SDPOs and station house officers receptively.

Out of 315 polling stations, six has been declared extreme sensitive, 30 sensitive while remaining 279 polling stations have been declared normal as per security point of view. The main control room has been set up at the Safe City project area while three wireless control rooms have been established.

Quick Response Force (QRF) teams have been also constituted to perform security duties in the NA-53 which will be along with zonal commanders, sector commanders and sub-sector commanders. For 315 polling stations in NA-53, special teams have been constituted to avert any untoward incident and ensure security to voters.