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.
Sh Rashid fears financial indiscipline under Shehbaz as PAC Chairman
LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad here on Saturday expressed apprehension that the appointment of Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) would lead the country to financial indiscipline and economic chaos.
Addressing a press conference at Pakistan Railways (PR) headquarters, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was a broad-minded person who had agreed that the Opposition may make Shehbaz as Chairman PAC. Casting doubt on the credibility of Shehbaz Sharif, he said, “No leader in the PML-N was dishonest if its president Shehbaz Sharif is honest”. Regarding the issue of production order of PML-N MNA Saad Rafique, he said that his (Rashid) production orders had not been produced for three years when he was in jail in a fake case of possessing a gun.
To a question, he said that Saad was the son of a great man and he (Rashid) respected his father, but, adding that Saad was crying for money which he had looted. The Minister said the country would be purged of all plunderers and looters by March 2019. He criticized the media for presenting thieves and looters like heroes and urged the media to show their real faces. He said the railways during the last regime, just made procurement and no improvement had been brought in it. He said the government was bound to pay Rs 6 billion daily in the form of debts. To a question, he said that he never used derogatory language against the daughter or wife of Nawaz Sharif. The Minister said that with the passage of time, positive impacts of the governments would be before the people.
Joint strategy to eradicate terrorism!
KABUL: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has stressed for a joint strategy to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the region.
Pakistani Foreign Minister was addressing a joint Presser along with his Chinese and Afghan counterparts after trilateral dialogue here today. Shah Mehmood Qureishi held that only through collective efforts we can wipe out terrorism and achieve the objectives of peace and development. Maintaining that we all want peace and stability in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister said Pakistan would benefit the most from the peace and stability of the neighboring country.
He said Pakistan will extend cooperation to bring all the Afghan groups to the table of negotiations. He, however, said it is up to the Afghans themselves as to how they want to achieve the goal of peace. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He said he is visiting Kabul to bridge the trust deficit.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressing the Media personnel held that both Afghanistan and Pakistan were friends of China and his country would extend every possible cooperation to build trust and confidence between the two countries. He said his country will also assist in establishing connectivity projects including a rail line between Peshawar-Kabul and Kandahar. The Chinese foreign minister said the Afghan reconciliation process can be taken forward by bringing the Taliban to the table of negotiations.
Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan Foreign Minister, said Pakistan has an important role for peace in Afghanistan. He said peace in his country is vital for peace and security of the entire region. He said eradication of terrorism will pave the way for economic development and augmentation of employment opportunities.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul today and discussed improvement in bilateral relations and important issues of mutual and regional interest. Foreign Minister on the occasion said trilateral dialogue forum will help promote connectivity as well as regional peace and stability. He expressed the hope that a stable Afghanistan will lead to the well-being of the whole region. Foreign Minister Qureshi congratulated Afghan President on making best arrangements for holding of trilateral dialogue. President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani thanked Shah Mehmood Qureshi for participating in the trilateral dialogue and his assurance of cooperation.
NA committees to be formed soon: Qaiser
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Friday said standing committees would be formed soon as he had already held meetings with both government and opposition members of the House in that regard.
He said it was not the first time that the formation of standing committees had been delayed. However, the committees were essential for legislation and parliamentary parties were finalizing their members for them, he said talking to a private news channel.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken budged from his principled stand and okayed appointment of opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif as Public Accounts Committee chairman for smooth running of the parliament.
The speaker said all the members of the National Assembly were competent, who had tabled bills on many issues in the House. With the committees in place, the House would move forward to do the legislative work, he added.
Asad Qaiser said after formation of standing committees, a special assembly session would be held. The parliament was the best forum for elected representatives to raise issues being faced by the people and get them resolved, he added.
He said he would run the House according to the law. There would be no discrimination against any member. “I respect all the assembly members, whether they belong to the treasury or opposition benches.”
The speaker said all the political parties should contribute towards making Pakistan a developed state. The country was facing many problems, including the economic crisis, and the joint efforts were needed to cope with them.