PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday announced the deployment of over 77,000 police personnel to 9,000 polling stations set up in 17 districts for the Dec 19 local body elections.

The announcement came after Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chaired a meeting on law and order situation in the province.

The meeting attended by chief secretary Dr Shahzad Bangash, police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari and other senior relevant officials discussed security arrangements for the local body polls.

Special assistant to the chief minister on information Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif told a news conference afterwards that the police chief briefed participants about security arrangements for elections.

He said polling stations for the LG elections were divided into A, B and C categories over the deployment of police personnel.

Mr Saif said nine police officials would be deployed to every category A polling station, five to category B one and three to category C one.

Also read: ECP wants phased LG polls in KP completed by March

He said polling stations in Peshawar and other highly-populated and sensitive areas were placed in category A.

The CM’s aide said the police deployment could be increased on the polling day if the need arose.

He also said the Quick Response Force’s personnel would be deployed to the ‘nearby areas of responsibility’ for immediately responding to any untoward situation on the election day.

“The QRF personnel won’t be deployed to polling stations,” he said.

Mr Saif said the QRF would act in close coordination with the police.

He said it was the mandate of the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide about the Pakistan Army’s deployment for the election day security duty.

“If the ECP wants the provincial government to deploy the army, the government will do so. The matter is not currently under discussion,” he said.

The CM’s aide also said there were no serious threat to polls due to which such a deployment was required.

He said no district had so far been declared sensitive for the local body polls.

Mr Saif said Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Wednesday launch the Ababeel Squad, the first responders to street crimes in the provincial capital.

He said in the first phase, 200 motorcycles were provided to the squad, which would work in two shifts.

The CM’s aide said in the first phase, 800 personnel would be deployed in the provincial capital, while the number would be increased to 1,600in the second phase.

He said that patrolling force would later be deployed to six major cities of the province, while in the third phase, the squad would be extended to 26 districts.

Mr Saif said the Ababeel Squad’s personnel using the body-worn cameras would act as the first responders to crimes.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan expressed concern about poor security situation in certain parts of the province, especially about the attacks on police personnel protecting polio teams, according to a statement issued here.

He directed the relevant officials to take necessary measures to prevent such incidents.

Mr Mahmood said the recent torching of a police station in Mandani area of Charsadda district by a mob was a matter of serious concern.

He said an independent yet comprehensive inquiry should be conducted through Special Branch into the incident and its report should be submitted to him at the earliest.

The chief minister said the peaceful holding of the local body elections was the prime responsibility of the government and therefore, the police and administration should ensure foolproof security arrangements for the purpose.

He said the government would provide all required resources for the purpose on priority basis.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2021

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