KARACHI: “Polling stations are being facilitated with water supply, sewerage, electricity, ramps to facilitate the handicapped voters and other facilities including the installation of CCTV cameras is also underway,” said Sindh Chief Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman Khan in a briefing session held on Tuesday. During his briefing to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, the Sindh chief secretary said that all-out efforts were being made to ensure a fair, free and transparent general election in Sindh. Azam Suleman Khan told ECP Secretary that foolproof security arrangements had been in anticipation of the process and intelligence committees on provincial, divisional and district level had been constituted to monitor and resolve day to day issues to this effect. He further said that Sindh caretaker government was working round the clock to keep peaceful environment in the province in order to encourage voters to come out on the polling day and cast their vote. Babar Yaqoob expressed his satisfaction over the steps being taken in the province. Appreciating the efforts of the interim government, Secretary ECP said that he had witnessed implementation of code of conduct in Sindh. The Chief Secretary assured Babar Yaqoob that sophisticated measures were being taken to facilitate voters in casting their votes peacefully. During his briefing, the chief secretary also stressed on the importance of maintaining law and order situation in the province. Chief Secretary told ECP secretary that ECP’s code of conduct was being strictly enforced and all required arrangements were being finalised. He added that missing facilities at all polling stations would be provided to voters. Election would be conducted peacefully and police, Rangers and Pak Army would assist civil administration and ECP for accomplishment of the election task,” said Azam Suleman Khan. During the meeting, Sindh IGP Amjad Javed Sulemani and Karachi Commissioner also briefed ECP secretary regarding the arrangements being made for the upcoming elections. Sindh Election Commissioner, Muhammad Yousuf Khan Khattak, Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP), Home Secretary, Services Secretary, Karachi Commissioner, AIG Police and other senior officers were also present at the briefing. Shortage of staff at polling stations Earlier, in a meeting with Sindh Chief Secretary on Monday, ECP officials had expressed their dismay over the low attendance of designated officials at various polling stations. In a meeting, presided over by Sindh Chief Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman Khan, representatives from the ECP along with Sindh IGP Amjad Saleemi, Karachi Commissioner Saleh Farooqi, Karachi CCPO Mushtaq Meher, personnel from Sindh Rangers and deputy commissioners as well as senior police officials from all six districts of the metroplis reviewed arrangements being made for the upcoming elections. After reviewing a list of 24 federal government department’s officials who had been assigned election responsibility, ECP officials informed the meeting that many Returning Officials (ROs) from several polling stations across the city were facing difficulties in dispatching their duties due to the absence of staff deputed for election obligation. The Karachi Commissioner then briefed the meeting about the measures being taken for logistic support and allied facilities in connection with the election arrangements. During the meeting, Sindh chief secretary was apprised about the steps being taken against political parties involved in violation of the code of conduct issued by the ECP. Chief Secretary Azam Suleman Khan was told that under the new set up political parties were obliged to obtain permission before holding party meetings and campaign rallies. Morever, district administration assured members of the meeting that steps were underway to ensure peace and tranquility during election drives of political parties. District administration officials told the meeting that monitoring teams under deputy commissioners’ offices were vigilant in curbing violation ECP’s code of conduct and a large number of banners, flags and graffiti mounted on public places and civic installation facilities had been removed from the city. They further told the officials present that a close liaison among all security agencies including the army was kept intact in order to keep tranquility in city during election days. Sindh Chief Secretary then directed relevant officials to restore the power supply to disconnected government schools serving as polling stations and provide transport facility to the polling staff. The Chief Secretary also issued the deadline of July 20 for the installation of CCTV camera systems in polling stations. Published in Daily Times, July 11th 2018.