The Pakistan Army carried out reconnaissance of the "most sensitive" locations ahead of the upcoming Punjab by-polls, said a statement from the military's media affairs wing.

The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said the activity was in line with the role assigned to the military as third-tier responders to any law and order situation, as per the directions from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

"Army troops will perform only quick reaction force duties in case of any law and order situation arising during polling," the ISPR said.

A day ago, the federal government decided to beef up security in six sensitive constituencies of Punjab where by-polls are scheduled to take place on Sunday amidst heightened political tensions.

A meeting chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was told that four constituencies in Lahore and one each in Multan and Bhakkar were sensitive. The meeting decided to deploy the Frontier Constabulary and Rangers to ensure security and law and order during the crucial by-polls on 20 seats of the Punjab Assembly, said a statement issued by the interior ministry.

The meeting took place a day after the ECP took notice of reports about the presence of armed men in various constituencies of Punjab and sought the army’s deployment in sensitive constituencies.

On the basis of intelligence reports, the meeting decided to ban the entry of “miscreant elements” into the constituencies where by-polls are set to take place.

It also reviewed reports that at least 300 armed men have been brought from Gujrat to Lahore to disrupt peace during the by-polls. The meeting decided to take pre-emptive measures to ensure that such armed persons cannot affect the law and order situation during the elections.

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