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Armymen to guard sensitive polling stations

March 23, 2013

— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Army troops will be deployed on the day of election for providing security at highly sensitive polling stations and personnel of civilian law enforcement agencies on the rest.

This was decided at the second round of talks between Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Ishtiaq Ahmed and military authorities at General Headquarters on Friday.

As general elections near, spiralling violence and increasing attacks on sectarian and religious minorities are making the task of peaceful conduct of polls complicated.

The meeting was held days after the top brass of armed forces at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee had agreed to support the ECP in providing security during elections.

The army command has expressed on a number of occasions its commitment to the democratic process in the country and holding of elections on time.

During the meeting the military authorities asked the ECP secretary to further refine security requirement estimates by earmarking highly sensitive polling stations.

A military official said the ECP was asked to determine the exact security requirement on the basis of which a comprehensive plan would be chalked out.

Some 80,000 to 100,000 polling stations would be set up across the country for the elections.

A comprehensive security plan, which is still being worked out, would involve police, Rangers and Frontier Corps. Army would later be integrated in the overall plan for providing security at highly sensitive polling stations.

According to a source, the ECP first reached out to Army on March 7 with an idea of putting it in the lead security role during elections. But, it was asked to determine the exact requirement.

At Friday’s meeting the ECP came with its plan for security but was asked to review it.

According to a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations, another meeting between the ECP secretary and military authorities would be held in a couple of weeks after the commission would work out details of security requirements across the country which could help evolve a comprehensive security plan.