In order to conduct free and fair polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wants the army to be deployed at all polling stations until the announcement of election results.

 

A meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim was held to devise a security plan for the forthcoming elections. He said at least one personnel should be deployed at all polling booths, calling maintenance of law and order the only hurdle against ensuring free and fair elections.

 

The CEC further said that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had assured him of all-out support. “The election has to be, of necessity, just and fair. The one single most important problem is maintenance of law and order,” Ibrahim told the meeting.

 

The commission had proposed seeking services of over 600,000 government officials as polling staff and thousands of law enforcement personnel, including the army, in a bid to maintain law and order during the 2013 polls.

 

He added that in the past people had reservations regarding the transparency of the elections and it was everyone’s constitutional responsibility to abide by the law. The CEC further said the only path of a parliamentary democracy was elections and the army chief had assured his cooperation during the electoral process.

 

The meeting was attended by the Defence Secretary, Interior Secretary, the heads of the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Rangers and Chief Secretaries of the four provinces. The Election Commission will prepare a comprehensive security plan for the polls following consultations with stakeholders.

The government will complete its five-year term on March 16 and leaders of the ruling Pakistan People s Party have said the polls will be held before May 16.

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