ISLAMABAD: In order to avoid any incident of violence, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration has suggested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for army deployment in polling stations of the capital during the local bodies polls.
Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Mushtaq Ahmed said the suggestion came during a meeting to review the security situation of the upcoming local government (LG) elections. The meeting was attended by officials of the ECP and police.
The ICT Administration has suggested the ECP for the deployment of military personnel inside and outside polling stations in order to avoid any untoward incident. “800 polling stations will be established in the federal capital and a few out of them would be declared sensitive where deployment of army is essential,” said Ahmed while talking to The Express Tribune.
While sharing further details, the official said almost 400 schools would be converted into polling stations in both urban and rural areas where residents would come to cast their votes. He said so far the administration has not figured out the sensitive polling stations, adding that polling scheme will be made after looking at the track record of the 2013 general election.
Almost 60,00 police officers and Rangers will be deployed to secure the polls, he shared. The official further explained that during the meeting, examples were shared about smooth elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and cantonment boards where the army was deployed. “The security of polling staff is essential along with that of the voters, therefore, the administration will focus on it,” he explained.
Responding to a question, the official said it was also decided that the administration will not call the Punjab Police who are regularly called into the city in such cases. “It will create a negative impact to call cops from Punjab. Only the Azad Jammu and Kashmir police will be called in, he added.
Another senior official of the local administration said the LG election would be a big election in the capital’s history therefore the army’s presence is essential so the election could be held smoothly.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed concern over the delay in the LG polls and directed the attorney general to inform the court on Wednesday on the status of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill 2015 bill pending in the Senate.
Although the ECP has almost completed preparations for holding polls by publishing the list of contesting candidates and allotting election symbols to them, the fate of the local government elections still hangs in the balance.
According to the ECP, some 4,190 candidates had filed nomination papers for different seats. Over 3,500 candidates would contest the election as a number of candidates had withdrawn nomination papers while some were rejected by the returning officers.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2015.