LAHORE: President Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has welcomed the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to deploy Rangers and army during the forthcoming by-elections in Punjab.

Talking to journalists in Lahore, he said similar deployment should be made in the forthcoming local bodies’ elections for the maintenance of law and order to ensure the smooth polling at the polling stations in the province of Punjab.

He strongly objected to the reports to the effect that the ruling Party MNAs and MPAs development funds were being used to execute the development projects destined to win the favor of the voters. It is pre-poll rigging because the election schedule has already been announced, he maintained.

He reiterated his demand that senior civil judges, additional Session Judges or Session judges should be appointed as Returning Officers to ensure the impartiality and transparency of the forthcoming local bodies’ elections.

Wattoo alleged that it was not possible to hold free and fair elections under the supervision of the Punjab bureaucracy because it was highly politicized and was always keen to serve its masters at the expense of the electoral process fairness.