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ISLAMABAD: The capital administration has sought help from paramilitary troops to conduct the Federal Employees Cooperative Housing Society (FECHS) elections, which are scheduled to be held today (Sunday).

They turned to paramilitary organisations for help after violence broke out between two groups contesting the elections, which were first held a week ago at the Convention Centre on Dec 9, officials said. They said those elections were suspended and rescheduled for Dec 16.

At the request of the administration, the Ministry of Interior approached the Rangers Punjab director general and the commandant of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) in Peshawar and asked for paramilitary personnel to be deployed for security and law and order.

Six Ranger Quick Response Forces and two FC platoons have been sought for the elections, which will be held at Sports Complex.

They said the chief commissioner’s office had previously asked to hold the elections in Korang Town, but the venue was changed to the Convention Centre. The FECHS elections’ then commissioner told the office that chances of violence would be higher there.

The police’s Special Branch also submitted a similar report and alerted the administration to the need for proper security during the elections to avoid any untoward incident, they said.

The election commissioner at the time had also sought a police contingent for the elections, officials said, but the demand was not fulfilled. A brawl broke out at the Convention Centre between two groups participating in the elections, and the ballot box was stolen and damaged, they said.

Islamabad Transport Authority Secretary Dr Waqar Ali Khan has been appointed election commissioner for this Sunday’s elections, as the cooperative housing society’s registrar Saad bin Asad is on leave.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2018