Army, LEAs not available for election duty, ECP told
ISLAMABAD: The Punjab chief secretary and inspector general (IG) have expressed their inability to provide foolproof security to polls for the Punjab Assembly without the assistance of law enforcement agencies and the Pakistan Army and due to the country s overall economic and law and order situation.
Briefing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) session chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja about general elections, the law and order situation in Punjab and the economic conditions of the province, the chief secretary emphasised clean and transparent elections, stating that it was not currently feasible to hold elections under current conditions.
The Punjab IGP highlighted that the deployment of police personnel was not limited to just the day of elections but extends to ensuring the safety and security of officials during census and the prevention of crimes, the state news agency reported.
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The IG also emphasized that the police will be deployed to protect mosques and worshipers during the upcoming month of Ramadan.
The IG Punjab further added that the police force was committed to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens, and their duty is not just limited to maintaining law and order during elections. The police personnel will continue to provide security to the citizens, especially during events such as Ramadan, which are of religious significance.
He said that 3,330 political meetings and campaign events were held during the 2018 elections. There will be more of them during these elections, so it is very difficult to provide security, keeping in mind the current law and order situation.
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He further informed that police action has been started against criminals in “Katcha” area. For which 4 to 5 months will be required, after the operation there was a strong hope that the situation will improve for the holding of elections.
Around 40,000 teachers were on duty for the census and matriculation exams, and will also assist with wheat procurement while upcoming elections were also being held in April.
The Election Commission s second meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor discussed the state of law and order and challenges faced in the merged districts.
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The Election Commission has requested the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to inform them of his decision following a final consultation held on Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Lt. Gen. (R) Hamud-ul-Zaman Khan and Additional Defense Secretary Maj. Gen. Khurram Sarfaraz Khan briefed the Election Commission on the country s current situation, borders, and army deployment in the interior during their third meeting held in the commission.
They informed the commission about the overall law and order situation of the country and said that Pakistan army attaches great importance to its basic duties, in which the security of the borders and the country was its first priority.
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They said that due to the current situation in the country, Pakistan Army was not available for election duty at this time. Apart from this, the current economic situation of the country has an effect on the army as well. And the government may restrict the army to performing primary duties or assign it to secondary duties, such as election duty, due to current conditions.
Army will be available on Quick Reaction Force (QRF) mode for election duty to ensure efficient response to security concerns during the upcoming elections. However, it won t be possible for Army to perform election duty in static mode.