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Armed forces to be deployed outdoors ‘most delicate’ polling stations: ECP

Armed forces to be deployed outside ‘most sensitive’ polling stations: ECP
The Election Fee of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday mentioned the armed forces can be deployed outdoors the “most delicate polling stations” throughout normal elections on February 8.

The announcement got here two days after the caretaker federal cupboard accepted the deployment of military personnel.

In a notification the fee mentioned it was its responsibility to organise elections and make preparations “to make sure that the election is performed actually, justly, pretty and in accordance with legislation and that corrupt practices are guarded in opposition to”.

It mentioned the ECP had obtained the providers of the armed forces for help in making certain safety preparations for the conduct of the final elections. The notification detailed the duties of the armed forces in the course of the polls.

“Pakistan armed forces/civil armed forces shall help within the provision of a safe surroundings by deploying in Fast Response Drive mode and out of doors chosen most delicate polling stations from Feb 5 to Feb 10 to help the ECP in conduct of free, truthful and clear elections,” the electoral watchdog mentioned.

The civil armed forces, it continued, would stay deployed on the Printing Company of Pakistan and Pakistan Publish Basis — each in Islamabad — from Jan 12 to Feb 8 to make “complete preparations in the course of the printing, stacking and storage of poll papers”.

The election fee mentioned the armed and civil armed forces ought to present help in safety in the course of the transportation of poll papers and election materials from printing presses to respective places of work of district returning officers.

The ECP notification additional specified that the armed forces ought to deploy an satisfactory variety of cell vigilance groups throughout all constituencies, forming a “tiered safety mechanism” to make sure a safe surroundings. On this system, the police would operate as tier-1 responders, adopted by civil armed forces at tier-2, and the military at tier-3, the ECP added.

It additionally mentioned that the armed forces ought to perform reconnaissance of every constituency from the date of issuance of the notification as per their want.

“The armed forces shall additionally present safety throughout transportation of election materials from places of work of returning officers to polling stations and again, after completion of polling and counting,” the notification said.

The ECP added that it had additionally authorised every designated officer in-charge of armed forces and civil armed forces to train powers of Justice of the Peace top notch for your complete interval of deployment in respect of offences punishable underneath Sections 176, 177, 183 and 194 of the Elections Act 2017.

On Tuesday, the federal government accepted a abstract pertaining to the deployment of navy and civil armed forces personnel at polling stations and delicate constituencies “with the intention to keep peace and safety” in the course of the upcoming normal elections.

The deployment of troops was demanded by the Election Commi­ssion of Pakistan (ECP), citing a scarcity of 275,000 safety officers, required for the election responsibility.

The ECP had already written to the inside ministry mentioning a shortfall of 277,558 safety officers wanted to make sure protected and safe polling nationwide.

In accordance with data acquired by the ECP from the federal and provincial governments, there was a shortfall of 169,110 personnel in Punjab, 18,500 in Sindh, 56,717 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 13,769 in Balochistan and 4,500 in Islam­abad. The letter requested fast preparations for deploying the Pakistan Military and different safety forces at polling stations.

The fee had reportedly talked about a particular case of Islamabad, the place a shortfall of 4,500 personnel threatened to disrupt the electoral course of because the obtainable safety workers was 4,500 in opposition to a requirement of 9,000.

The ECP sought deployment of military personnel amidst a surge in militant assaults, killing greater than 700 safety personnel and civilians within the first 9 months of 2023.