Pakistan's Election Commission limits powers of military personnel at voting stations during upcoming polls

Islamabad: Facing criticism, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday restricted the magisterial powers of military personnel set to be deployed at the polling stations during the 25 July general elections.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The ECP had issued a notification on 10 July, giving extended powers to the armed forces personnel to be deployed at polling stations across the country from 23 July to 27 July. At least 3,71,000 armed forces personnel will be deployed at polling stations to provide security and the ECP had conferred on them wider powers to check malpractice.

Granting magisterial powers to the armed forces personnel was criticised by several senators. The ECP took strong exception to the comments and criticism of the senators and termed it based on disinformation.

However, the ECP through a notification limited the army's magisterial powers to offences of personification and capturing of a polling station or polling booth by anyone. In all other cases, the armed forces would first inform the presiding officer of a polling station before taking any action. The power withdrawn included the offence of canvasing or soliciting voters within radius of 400 metres of the polling station.

Also, the powers of police officer under section 194 of Election Act 2017 given to the army personnel has been withdrawn in which any person could be arrested without arrest warrants if that person removes a banner, removed by the presiding officer but commits an offence inside the polling station.

Updated Date: Jul 23, 2018 10:39 AM

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