Army to provide security for Pakistan’s general elections

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Islamabad, June 27 (IANS) Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday directed the armed forces to take over security duties for the country’s July 25 general elections, the Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

According to a statement from the ISPR, the directive was issued at a Corps Commanders’ Conference held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, a garrison city adjacent to Islamabad.

The meeting chaired by General Bajwa discussed the provision of assistance to the Election Commission for a free, fair and transparent conduct of general elections.

“Bajwa directed that this national duty (should) be performed with utmost responsibility and without losing any focus on defence and internal security challenges in hand,” according to the statement cited by Xinhua news agency.

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The announcement came after the poll body wrote a letter to the Defence Ministry seeking the Army’s supervision to conduct the general elections.

The letter said that 350,000 military personnel would be needed to maintain law and order situation across the country on the election day. The soldiers will be deployed inside and outside the polling stations during the balloting exercise, the Election Commission said.

The poll body has established 185,000 polling stations for the elections for the Lower House of the country’s Parliament and the four provincial assemblies.

Monitoring cameras will be installed at 20,000 sensitive polling stations while close coordination would also be maintained with the National Counter Terrorism Authority for security issues.

The charge of the country’s official printing press where the ballot papers will be printed was also handed over to the Army on Wednesday.

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–IANS

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