'Pre-Poll Rigging': ECP Orders Release Of Arrested South Waziristan Candidates

'Pre-Poll Rigging': ECP Orders Release Of Arrested South Waziristan Candidates
Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to withdraw the detention orders issued against two independent candidates from South Waziristan. ECP, while emphasizing on the urgency of its orders, asked the relevant authorities to execute the order in a day.

Both of them were arrested earlier this month. Additional Home Secretary KP was asked to convey ECP orders to Deputy Commissioner of the area. The order was to release the arrested candidates as the arrest took place after the announcement of election schedule which constitutes pre-poll rigging.

Muhammad Arif Wazir, contesting from PK-113, South Waziristan-1, and Muhammad Iqbal Masood, a candidate from PK-114, South Waziristan-1, were arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance.

ECP notification states, "It is said that they have been delivering speeches and raising slogans against the security of Pakistan and also that [an] FIR (first information report) has been registered. If this is [the] case then the act attributed is an offense and they are liable to be arrested which they were not so arrested at the time of registration of FIR. They are arrested now after the issuance of election schedule and during the election campaign. It is a clear indication of helping the remaining candidates in the constituency and also is tantamount to pre-poll rigging."

Section 3 of Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 says: "It shall be the duty of the Election Commission [omitted] to organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against."

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