Army to provide security during polls in merged districts

PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has handed over the responsibility of security for the upcoming elections in tribal districts on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seats to the Pakistan Army.

According to the Election Commission, the polls on 16 general seats of tribal districts in KP Assembly will be held under the security cover by the Pakistan Army. The Army personnel will be deployed inside and outside all polling stations in the merged districts. The electoral body has directed the Pakistan Army to make arrangements in this regard.

A notification of the ECP says the military personnel will also provide security to the training centres for the polling staff. Sources said the security personnel will be deployed at the printing presses from July 05. The military personnel will remain deployed at the polling stations from July 18-21.

The ECP says the panting of ballot papers, transportation and compilation of results will be carried out under the security cover of Pakistan Army. The deployment of Army in the polls was inevitable amid challenging security circumstances in tribal districts ahead of the crucial polls.

Elections on 16 general seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for merged districts were originally scheduled on July 2, but the exercise was delayed to July 20 by the Election Commission after receiving an application from the KP government in this regard. The KP government had said in the application that polls should be delayed due to security and administrative issues.

On general seats, elections will be held on PK-108 Kurram, PK-109 Kurram-Il, PK-110 Orakzai, PK-111 North Waziristan-l, PK-112 North Waziristan-Il, PK-113 South Waziristan-PK-114 South Waziristan-Il, PK-115 Ex-Frontier Regions, PK-100 Bajaur-I, PK-101 Bajaur-Il, PK-102 Bajaur-Ill, PK-103 Mohmand-l, PK-104 Mohmand-ll, PK-105 Khyber PK-106 Khyber-ll, PK-107 Khyber-Ill.

Besides the ban on posting and transfers of government officials, no government functionary or elected representative including a local government functionary has been allowed to announce any development scheme for the constituencies, where the election is under is scheduled on July 20. The ECP has so far issued show cause notices to Prime Minister Imran Khan, KP Tourism Minister Atif Khan and MNA from Khyber tribal district Iqbal Afridi over allegedly violating the election code of conduct in tribal districts.