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ECP issues code of conduct for armed, civil forces for elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan has issued the Code of Conduct for Armed and Civil Armed Forces to ensure foolproof security during the upcoming General Elections. In a notification released today, the ECP stated that security personnel from the Armed Forces and Civil Armed Forces of Pakistan will guarantee a secure environment for the easy and safe access of voters to polling stations. According to the code of conduct, the police will serve as the first tier of responders, while Civil Armed Forces and Armed Forces will act as the second and third tier responders, respectively. They will be deployed outside selected Most Sensitive Polling Stations and will also provide security for printing presses during the printing of ballot papers. Security personnel will oversee the safe transportation of election materials from the offices of Returning Officers to Polling Stations and back after the completion of polling and counting. The code of conduct emphasizes that security personnel must remain impartial and neutral throughout the election process, especially during the voting process, and should not act in favor of or against any political party or candidate. They will identify suspicious voters for checking by police personnel before entering the premises of the polling station to ensure that no person can bring weapons, explosives, or any undesirable items inside. While performing duties outside the most sensitive polling stations, security personnel from the Armed Forces and Civil Armed Forces should focus exclusively on ensuring a secure environment. They are instructed to report to the Presiding Officer of any irregularities, issues, or malpractices with the potential to create a law and order situation. If the Presiding Officer does not act to prevent reported irregularities, issues, or malpractices, the security staff will immediately inform the concerned Returning Officer. Accredited observers and media persons are allowed to enter polling stations, but security personnel are not permitted to as sume the duties of polling staff or take custody of any election materials. They are not allowed to interfere in any manner with the functions of the Presiding Officer, Assistant Presiding Officer, or Polling Officer. In case irregularities or malpractices continue, security personnel must inform their Officer In-Charge immediately so that necessary legal action can be taken. They are prohibited from interfering in the counting process and should perform their duties outside polling stations diligently to ensure a peaceful completion of the counting process. Source: Radio Pakistan