Lahore: Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP, has demanded the deployment of judicial officers as Returning Officers and Presiding Officers to conduct fair, free and impartial forthcoming by-elections and local bodies’ elections in the province of Punjab.

He said this in a statement that the Election Commission of Pakistan should take immediate notice of it and decide accordingly to avoid the untoward situation that was likely to cause, due to the allegations of manipulation or rigging after the elections.

He pointed out that the appointment of Punjab government officers consisting engineers, TMOs and alike would make the whole process controversial, because the Punjab government treated them as their personal servants and they eagerly comply to please the mandarins. It is not possible to hold fair, free and transparent elections if the Punjab government officers and staff are appointed to conduct such elections, he asserted.

He observed that the PML (N) had been ruling the province almost more than two decades and the bureaucracy of the Province was aware of the attitude of the top government functionaries who were heavily inclined to prefer allegiance over law and merit without exception.

He said that the reports were already abound that officers were being coerced by the respective MNAs and MPSs of the ruling Party to do their bidding and they were in action in using their influence in favor of ruling Party candidates.

He pointed out that all other parties like PTI, JI, PAT and others had been demanding that the elections should be held under the supervision of the Judiciary and Rangers should ensure peace and security during the elections. The inaction of the ECP is beyond comprehension, he added.

He maintained that the province could not afford the uncertainty any more created due to the controversial elections and therefore the Election Commission of Pakistan should move immediately to address the apprehensions of almost all the opposition parties by appointing Judicial officers to supervise the forthcoming elections.