The army accepted the Election Commission of Pakistan’s request for deployment of personnel at all 365 polling stations in 14 districts on July 5.
This was shared by ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob at a high-level meeting on the re-polls chaired by K-P Chief Secretary Amjad Afridi on Thursday at CM House on Thursday. The provincial election commissioner, senior army officials and Home and Tribal Affairs Secretary Arbab Mohammad Arif were in attendance.
The purpose behind deploying the army is to maintain law and order and prevent widespread mismanagement which was witnessed on May 30.
An official spokesman told The Express Tribune that divisional commissioners as well as civil and police officers briefed the election commission secretary and chief secretary about the sensitivity of polling stations where re-polls would be held. The ECP agreed to increase the number of polling booths and staff at all stations.
Similarly, the participants decided to post women supervisors and election staffers at polling stations. It was stressed no “irrelevant person” would be allowed to enter polling stations for women or influence the election in any way. Violators would be dealt with strictly.
After an exhaustive debate on suitable methods to ensure a peace and stability during the re-polling process, the meeting decided to deploy armed forces personnel along with policemen.
The army men were authorised to take stern action not only against those involved in violence and harassment, but also officials guilty of irregularities, nepotism or supporting any of the candidates.
However, the complainants must provide solid evidence against the government and non-government officers involved. It was also decided that CCTV cameras would be installed to ensure transparency.
Re-polling would be held from 8am to 7pm without any interval. Iftar dinner for officials, election staffers and security forces personnel.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.