KARACHI: The caretaker administration of Sindh has decided to install around 17,000 surveillance cameras at over 4,000 sensitive polling stations across the province during the July 25 general elections for security as well as transparency of the poll process, sources privy to the plan said on Tuesday.
They said the caretaker provincial cabinet recently approved the installation of cameras at polling stations in line with the directives of the Election Commission of Pakistan for which it had also set aside Rs600 million.
“The plan drafted by the security administration suggests that there would be a need of around 17,000 CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras at the identified sensitive polling stations,” said a source. “A DVR [digital video recording] system would also be installed at every polling station to keep the hours-long recording safe. The surveillance system would be designed in a way that it could be easily operated by the security and election commission staff at the polling stations.”
When asked about the source of supply and then installation of such a large number of cameras, he said that it would be decided in a couple of days. However, he was unsure about following the Sindh public procurement rules in the process due to “time constraints”.
He said there was hardly a month left in the elections and time constraints did not allow the lengthy process.
During the caretaker cabinet meeting held last week, Sindh Chief Secretary retired Major Azam Suleman had said that the ECP had identified over 4,000 most sensitive polling stations in Sindh which include 1,977 in Karachi, 1,206 in Hyderabad, 176 in Mirpurkhas, 124 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 289 Sukkur and 382 in Larkana.
He said there would be around 17,606 polling stations, of them 4,350 are most sensitive, 7,999 sensitive and 5,257 normal.
The cabinet discussed the security arrangements of all the polling stations and decided to install surveillance cameras along with the arrangement of generators at all the polling station. The cabinet directed the finance department to release Rs600m for installation of cameras and generators.
“Sindh has been declared as the most sensitive province for elections. So you would see more arrangements and more spending on security in this province than any other for the polls. In 2013 general elections, among total 15,586 polling stations 4,629 were declared highly sensitive,” said the source.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018