Four soldiers on Sunday embraced martyrdom when an army quick response team vehicle, patrolling to maintain law and order during Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections, toppled while taking a steep turn in Laswa area and fell into a ravine.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), three other soldiers and a civil driver suffered injuries in the unfortunate incident.
The military's media wing added the injured had been taken to a nearby medical facility for “necessary care”.
The four martyred soldiers included Subedar Liaqat Ali, a resident of Gujranwala. He has left behind two sons and a daughter. Sepoy Sultan Mehmood, a resident of Bhimber, has left behind a daughter. Sepoy Murtaza Ahmed, a resident of Barnala district, is survived by a son. Sepoy Muhammad Zameer, a resident of Kotli, was also among them.
Troops were deployed in AJK on a "Quick Reaction Force mode" from July 22 to July 26 under Article 245 of the Constitution, the military's media wing had notified on Thursday.
"[The] Army has been requested by the AJK Election Commission to provide secure environment during AJK elections scheduled on July 25," a statement issued by the ISPR read.
"[The] AJK police, assisted by law enforcement agencies from other provinces and civil armed forces — including Rangers and the FC — will be employed for smooth and peaceful conduct of AJK elections.
The troops assisted the election commission in conducting the polls and facilitated the government in maintaining law and order by deployment of troops inside and outside the polling stations.
On the election commission's request, the AJK government had also granted magisterial powers to 250 officers apart from regular magistrates and presiding officers in a bid to maintain law and order during the polling day.
Earlier this month, on the request of the AJK government, the federal cabinet had approved the deployment of military and paramilitary troops in addition to 11,000 police officials to ensure transparent elections on July 25.
In a letter to the interior ministry, the AJK government had sought the deployment of troops in the region to perform security duties on election day. The request was forwarded to the cabinet which subsequently approved it through a circular.
In a bid to ensure a fair election, the federal government had decided to deploy at least 40,000 police and security officials on polling day.
The AJK chief election commissioner had announced that army and Rangers would be deployed for security during the elections in order to help the voters cast their ballots in a fear-free atmosphere.
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