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LAHORE: As many as 41,000 army personnel will guard 7,333 polling stations set up by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Lahore division for the general elections being held on Wednesday (today), says Lahore commissioner, adding that the number of police officials deployed for the purpose is much higher than the military personnel.

“The arrangements related to security, law and order, logistics, administration, cleanliness, drainage, electricity etc required for holding trouble-free, transparent elections in Lahore city district, Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana have been completed. All the departments, including police, army, city and divisional administrations, Wasa, Lahore Waste Management Company etc are coordinating with each other in this regard,” Commissioner Dr Muhammad Mujtaba told Dawn on Tuesday.

Under the standard operating procedures, none of the officials representing civil administration (commissioners, deputy, additional deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners, monitoring officers etc) will be present inside the polling stations. They will render administrative and logistic support to the officials of army, police, presiding officers, polling officials etc who have been assigned duties inside the polling stations.

The police and army troops will also be present outside the polling stations to deal with any law and order situation.
“We have no role inside the polling stations. But we will remain available outside for providing administrative and logistic support to all those present in and outside the polling stations,” Mr Piracha said, adding that of the total 41,000 army personnel, 25,000 have been deployed at 3,885 polling stations set up in 14 NA constituencies of Lahore alone. The remaining 16,000 military personnel have been deployed for 10 NA constituencies of Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib district.

The commissioner said under the SOPs, the entire polling process (voting, counting, compilation and release of result) would be the responsibility of the ECP, district returning officers, returning officers and the polling staff headed by presiding officers.

“The ECP has made good arrangements for compilation and release of results. The electronic and print media will also be bound to follow the ECP code for airing and publishing the authenticated results,” the official explained.

He said the departments, especially Wasa and LWMC, have been put on high alert keeping in view rain forecast for the election day.

“They have been directed to keep their equipment (cleanliness machines/vehicles, de-watering machines, suckers etc) ready for quickly flushing out the rainwater in all parts of Lahore. Similarly, the departments concerned in Lahore division’s other districts have also been assigned duties in this regard,” he said.

Meanwhile, the LDA has also deputed officials to assist Wasa staff in draining out rainwater within the shortest possible time on the election day, a spokesman said.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018