KARACHI, May 4: Nearly 3,000 army troops have been deployed in the city on Saturday to provide a safe and conducive environment for the electoral process, with provincial administration vowing to take their assistance if needed to control the law and order situation even before May 11.
A senior member of the Sindh caretaker set-up and an ISPR officer confirmed the deployment of the soldiers across Sindh, including Karachi, as part of a poll security plan to deploy around 70,000 troops across the country where they would perform duties till the completion of the electoral process.
“The army would be on call in every district where it is being deployed,” said Sharfuddin Memon, the chief minister’s adviser on home affairs. “Apart from the polling day, we will definitely call the army if needed to handle any law and order situation. Our primary objective is to meet the challenge of holding free and fair elections and every possible move will be made for that purpose.”
ISPR director general Maj-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa had recently announced deployment of 70,000 army troops across the country.
He said that the personnel of the civil armed forces would be deployed at polling stations and the army would act as a quick response force on a need basis.
Meanwhile, an ISPR official said that the army was primarily looking after three tasks under a strategy devised by the Election Commission of Pakistan in consultation with the caretakers. Ensuring security of ballot papers’ printing process, the army in the second phase was transporting the crucial documents to every district of the country under its own security command.
“The third objective is to provide safe and conducive environment to the overall electoral process and for that purpose the army troops are being deployed in Karachi and other parts of the country,” he said. “The deployment is being made in line with the ECP directives, which has identified sensitive polling stations. The deployment of army would definitely help enhancing security environment.”
Out of 69,876 polling stations across the country for May 11 elections, the ECP has declared 12,717 as ‘high sensitive’ and 19,644 as ‘sensitive.’
In Sindh, the ECP has spotted 4,176 polling stations as ‘high sensitive’ and 5,436 as ‘sensitive.’
Amid random of incident of violence and frequent terrorist attacks mainly in Karachi, authorities now sounded confident to cap the situation under the army’s assistance.