Strict security as no polling station in NA-245 deemed ‘normal’

Published August 21, 2022
Staff brings election material to a polling station while posters of political parties (right) hang on a street light pole in the constituency. —Online / white Star
Staff brings election material to a polling station while posters of political parties (right) hang on a street light pole in the constituency. —Online / white Star

KARACHI: As many as 2,630 policemen are deployed for NA-245 by-poll today to control any untoward incident and provide security to over 500,000 voters in coordination with Pakistan Rangers while Army will be on standby to meet any eventuality, said city police chief Javed Odho.

The seat of National Assembly has fallen vacant after the death of PTI leader and TV personality Aamir Liaquat Husain in June. The polls were postponed in July due to heavy rains.

There are total 17 contenders in the elections, including the main political parties like the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan, Pak Sarzameen Party, and senior politician Dr Farooq Sattar, who is contesting the elections as an independent candidate.

Speaking at a press conference here, Additional Inspector General-Karachi Odho said that there were no ‘normal’ polling station, but they would focus on those polling stations, which were declared the ‘most sensitive’ in recent past.

Rangers deployed at ‘highly sensitive’ polling stations; private guards not allowed

He said under guidance of the ECP, security framework had been enhanced to avoid any untoward incident.

There were estimated to be over 500,000 voters with 263 polling stations and 1,048 polling booths.

As part of the security plan, 10 policemen would perform their duty at each polling station under the guidance of ECP officials.

Odho said that a two-tier security plan had been prepared comprising quick response force (QRFs) and reserve force.

He said there were around 110 buildings where polling would take place and two police mobiles carrying 12-14 personnel would patrol as quick response force as 220 police mobiles would respond to any emergency.

Thus a total of 1,540 policemen would be deployed for emergency response only. In addition to it, there would be a reserve force.

The polling areas comprised the two divisions of police namely Jamshed Town and Gulshan town where security responsibility has been assigned to SPs (superintendent of police), DSPs and SHOs.

The police chief said 50 policemen led by SP, 20-25 policemen led by DSP and 16 policemen led by SHO would perform security duty. They would respond to any emergency situation within ‘10 minutes’.

He said they had started flag march along with Rangers to provide sense of security to voters so that they could cast their vote freely.

The Additional IG revealed that the paramilitary force would be deployed at 110 polling stations out of total 263 polling stations.

Mr Odho said monitoring had also been enhanced and control rooms had been established at DIG, SSP and KPO offices, which would be linked with the command and control room of the IG office to monitor the security situation.

Replying to a question, the police chief said this time they had not categorised the sensitive nature of polling stations because they did not consider any polling station as normal.

“We have sufficient force because it is only one seat by-polling.”

However, the police would focus on 210 polling stations which were declared ‘most sensitive’ in the past.

He recalled that during the by-polling on NA-240 in Korangi, some political leaders and workers had become ‘charged and emotional’ triggering scuffles and clashes and this time the police had made a plan to prevent such a situation.

He said unfortunately, the atmosphere remained ‘charged’ during polling, but they have imposed Section 144 of CrPC, banning display on arms and unlawful gathering of people.

No private guards

The city police chief said that political leaders would not be allowed to bring private guards for security and if any leader had security issues, the government would provide them security after proper evaluation.

He recalled that during the recent by-polling in Korangi, the clash had taken place around one kilometre away from the polling station at an office of a political party. This time, they have decided that the action would be taken if the people gathered at any place ‘illegally’.

He said since, the rains had occurred four-five times more as compared to the past, dewatering teams were ready which had removed accumulated rainwater from the areas.

He said the district administration has installed CCTVs on sensitive polling stations.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Royal tantrum
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Royal tantrum

The PML-N's confrontational stance and overt refusal to respect courts orders on arguably flimsy pretexts is a dangerous sign.
Bangladesh chaos
Updated 20 Jul, 2024

Bangladesh chaos

The unfortunate events playing out in Bangladesh should serve as a warning sign for other South Asian states.
Fitch’s estimate
20 Jul, 2024

Fitch’s estimate

FITCH seems to be more optimistic about Pakistan accelerating its economic growth rate to 3.2pc during this fiscal...
Misplaced priorities
Updated 19 Jul, 2024

Misplaced priorities

The government must call its APC at the earliest and invite all stakeholders to take part; this matter cannot be delayed further.
Oman terror attack
19 Jul, 2024

Oman terror attack

THE normally peaceful sultanate of Oman was shaken by sectarian terrorism on Monday when militants belonging to the...
Urban flooding
19 Jul, 2024

Urban flooding

THE provincial authorities have been taking precautionary measures, or so we have been told, to cope with emergency...