PESHAWAR: Law-enforcement agencies have declared at least 70 per cent of the polling stations in the militancy-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sensitive ahead of general elections.
After a meeting of the provincial cabinet here on Thursday, caretaker Information Minister Mossarat Qadeem told reporters here that at least 6,512 of the total 9,284 polling stations in the province had been declared sensitive and the provincial government would request the centre to return around 45 platoons of Frontier Constabulary (FC) to the province to cope with security situation during elections.
“FC platoons will be deployed along the border between the province and Fata to block entry of miscreants from tribal region to settled areas,” she said and added that the federal government would be requested in this respect.
The cabinet reviewed law and order situation in the context of elections and discussed security plan.
Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (r) Tariq Pervez Khan presided over the maiden meeting of the cabinet that was also attended by officials of the Election Commission and other departments.
Home secretary Azam Khan and provincial police officer Akbar Khan Hoti briefed the cabinet about security arrangements for the polling day.
The information minister said around 81,000 personnel of police, levies and other law-enforcement agencies were required for providing security in elections.
She said levies force would provide security in Malakand division, where the army had already been deployed due to militancy.
She said army troops had already been deployed in some areas and provincial government did not need to seek additional troops in those areas. However army would be in standby position, she added.
Ms Qadeem said security plan required around Rs160 million including food and logistics and provincial government would release funds.
She said movement of Afghan nationals would be restricted on the polling day.
The cabinet was informed that Afghan nationals had obtained computerized national identity cards which had been cancelled, according to the minister.
According to her, 135 monitoring teams of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be deployed at polling stations to watch code of conduct.
Besides, district coordination committees headed by deputy commissioners will also be constituted for elections to work as oversight bodies in various constituencies.
She said the chief minister urged the relevant departments to take all steps to facilitate voters.
She said the cabinet would hold more follow up meetings on security arrangements. She said the caretaker government’s prime responsibility is to provide fool proof security to voters to cast their votes in a peaceful atmosphere Tariq Pervez also said holding of free, fair and impartial elections in a peaceful environment was the constitutional obligation of the caretaker set up.
When asked about visit of foreign election observers to the province, she said the federal government had yet to share such information with the provincial government.
When asked about the reported decision of a local jirga in Torghar district to ban participation of women in elections, the minister said EC would implement its decision against barring women from voting.
She said nobody could stop citizens, including women, from exercising their constitutional rights.