PESHAWAR, May 7: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to deploy lady health workers at women polling stations in the province on May 11 to meet shortages of policewomen required to perform security duty.
Provincial information minister Musarrat Qadeem told a news conference here on Tuesday that lady health workers would be undergo necessary training to perform policing duty at women polling stations on the polling day.
“The province does not have a sufficient number of women police to perform the election day duty at women polling stations,” she said, explaining reasons behind the provincial cabinet’s decision taken earlier in the day.
With Chief Minister Tariq Pervez Khan in the chair, the cabinet reviewed security arrangements and approved security plan for May 11 in the province.
She said educational institutions across the province, including public and private schools, would remain closed from May 9 to May 12 and that the government departments would be closed on May 10 and May 11.
Ms Qadeem said there were a total of 9,000 polling stations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and of them, 1,878 had been declared highly sensitive, 3,000 sensitive and the rest normal with no immediate threat to them.
She said 10 policemen would be deployed at every highly sensitive polling station, six at every sensitive polling station and four at every normal polling station.
The minister said the government had approved the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in highly sensitive polling stations across the province to maintain peace.
She said the province was deficient in the number of policemen required to perform the election day duty.
Ms Qadeem said against a total requirement of 85,000 policemen, the province had 79,000 policemen for the polling day duty.
She said the shortage would be met by Pakistan army that had provided 6,000 personnel to the province for the election day duty.
The minister said ‘Quick Response Teams’ involving contingents of Pakistan army would also be available to respond to any challenging situation anywhere in the province on the polling day.
“Quick Response Teams will be available at nearby polling stations from where these teams could respond in 10 to 15 minutes,” she said, adding that a quick response team would be responsible for a cluster of 10 to 15 polling stations.
Ms Qadeem said a central control room would be established at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s home and tribal affairs department for the polling day to closely coordinate with all district administrations across the province.
She said the central control room would be competent to assign helicopter to district(s) where needed to respond to challenging situations.
The minister said the provincial government had also instructed the Peshawar Electric Supply Company to ensure non-stop electricity supply across the province for, at least, three days from May 9 to May 11.
“There will be no loadshedding in the province for three days,” she said, adding that Pesco had been instructed to cut loadshedding to the minimum possible level on May 8.
Ms Qadeem said the provincial government was providing security to 269 candidates facing serious threats to life.
“The government has deployed 1,600 security guards to provide security to the candidates with high risks. Some 900 of security guards have been provided from the provincial police and remaining 600 guards have been arranged from private security agencies,” she said.
The minister said the provincial home and tribal affairs department had foiled 45 terrorist attacks in April this year as a result of brisk intelligence. She said during the last 15 days, a total of 947 raids had been conducted in the province during which 7,000 outlaws had been arrested who would remain under confinement till the elections day.
When asked about deteriorating law and order situation in the province, Ms Qadeem said the caretaker provincial government had the mandate to hold free and fair elections.
“The law and order issue is 10 years old, so it cannot be addressed in 30 days (the caretaker government’s term in office),” she said.