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Army to lead security plan

March 28, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The army will lead ‘integrated security arrangements’ for the May 11 elections. The security plan for the elections was one of the major issues discussed at the 159th corps commanders meeting held on Wednesday.

It was one of rare occasions for the corps commanders to have formally assembled for the second time in 20 days. The top brass had last met on March 7 and the meeting is usually a monthly affair.

The army did not issue any official statement on the meeting. The commanders were briefed on the countrywide polling plan, the sensitive polling stations and security challenges.

According to a security official, the commanders approved an army-led integrated security plan which would also involve deployment of police, Rangers and Frontier Corps personnel.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee had also approved in principle military’s support for peaceful conduct of the polls.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, during his first meeting with caretaker Prime Minister retired Justice Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, reiterated the army’s commitment to assisting the government in holding free, fair, transparent and safe polls.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has held two rounds of talks with the army for chalking out a security plan. The arrangements are expected to be given a final shape in the coming days.

Planning is under way of the elections which would lead to the first democratic transition in the country from one civilian government to another, amid heightened security fears.

The army has already intensified ‘focussed clearance’ operations for securing elections from attacks by the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban and other militant groups.

The commanders also discussed Afghan reconciliation efforts and recent interaction between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Army chief Gen Kayani in Jordan over the weekend.