LAHORE - Rangers are likely to be deployed in Punjab to look after overall security arrangements for the upcoming local bodies’ polls, The Nation has learnt.

Punjab government sources Friday told this correspondent that provincial rulers were likely to come up with the request of deputing Rangers to take care of the overall security arrangements during forthcoming local bodies’ elections keeping in view the security advisories regarding possible terror activities by the sleeper cells of TTP and their supporting forces.

Several mainstream political parties especially the PTI have been demanding upcoming local elections under the security supervision of the Rangers.

Election Commission officials told this scribe that Rangers would be deployed only at polling stations declared sensitive by the district returning officers (DRO).

The DROs along with district election commissioners and district coordination officer as focal person would inspect the polling stations of their respective districts. The DROs would make the final assessment for declaring a polling station as sensitive and requesting for the deputation of Rangers.

Punjab Election Commissioner Masood Ahmed Malik when contacted said, “No political party has contacted the Commission with the demand of deputing Rangers on the event of local bodies’ polls. We will look into the matter when a political party comes up with such request.”

A senior PTI leader said his party would soon contact the election commission with the demand of deputing Rangers in all the phases of local bodies’ elections to ensure foolproof security against the backdrop of possible terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad visited Punjab Election Commission office to review preparations for upcoming by-elections and local bodies’ polls in the province.

He presided over a meeting to evaluate the preparations of provincial election commission.

The ECP secretary discussed matters regarding appointment of polling personnel, polling scheme, election material and security arrangements.

He emphasised on the importance of implementing code of conduct during elections.

He said under Article 204 and 103 of the Constitution of Pakistan, ECP was fully empowered to award punishments against violation of code of conduct.

Babar also inaugurated Election Monitoring Cell established in the office of provincial election commission. The function of Election Monitoring Cell is to facilitate common public and address their queries and complaints rapidly.

The cell will also monitor all aspects of elections such as violation of code of conduct, external interference, law and order situation, administrative loop-holes and functioning of polling staff on grass-root level.

Earlier, a briefing on preparations for local bodies’ polls and by-elections in Punjab was given to secretary ECP by provincial election commissioner along with his team.

PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan and PAT’s Ishtiaq Chaudhry filed nomination papers for NA-122 on the last date of submitting papers on Friday. A total of 23 nomination papers have been filed for NA-122 and 14 for PP-147.

Punjab Election Commission had extended the time for filing of nomination papers for the local bodies’ candidates on Friday evening till 12:00 pm because of the large number of aspirants.

A lot of festivity was witnessed at the provincial election commission office as supporters of candidates danced to the tunes of drumbeat and chanted slogans claiming in advance victory for their candidates when they came to file nomination papers.