Election Security 2018: In the aftermath of the two deadly attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and DI Khan that claimed the lives of three renowned leaders and more than 150 other valuable lives on July 10, 13 and 23, respectively. Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies alerted even more after these attacks and started planning to tighten their security provision to political leaders, candidates and other election related activities such as parties election campaigns. Along with finalizing a plan to secure free and fair elections on the 25th of July, the agencies took very excessive security measures across Pakistan.
Election Security 2018: GoP Takes Unprecedented Security Measures Across Pakistan
The Need for Deployment of Troops for General Elections 2018
What would have been a celebration of a further solidification of democracy in Pakistan turned out to be a difficult security situation to be handled with instability a threat away and uncertainty amid allegations of manipulation. This was not the situation the elections festivity began in, rather, the environment was a totally different one.
However, with the two incidents mentioned earlier and other similar incidents changed things completely. With Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claiming responsibility of the attack on 10 July that killed Awami National Party (ANP)’s leader Haroon Bilour along with other 21 lives. His father, another political leader of the same party, had also been killed in a TTP attack in 2012. Another incident in Bannu KPK happened in a corner meeting of Akram Khan Durrani, a Muttahida Majlis e Aml (MMA) leader and the former chief minister of KPK, with killing four people while Durrani narrowly escaping any fatal injuries.
Thus, with this long routed terror attacks conducted by the TTP one coming this close to election had completely altered the environment in which this election is to be held. Where before the attack the election 2018 were a celebration, post the attacks it has made situation tense, especially for KPK where most of TTP threats materializes.
General Preparations of Securing Elections 2018
In the series of ensuring security, the election day and the time before it, the Pakistan army has take many measures one such was holding meetings with police and administrative officials in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.
In this briefing it was mentioned that the final day security will be handled by the army itself where all polling stations will be handed over to them two days prior to the election day, and will be handed over back after the conclusion of the voting process on the 26th of July.
Another such measure to ensure the security of the election day and the officials involved and connected too deeply to the process of election is providing security, by deploying troop, to Printing Corporation of Pakistan Press Islamabad, National Printing Security Company Karachi, and Pakistan Post Foundation Islamabad.
Security Measure across Pakistan for Elections 2018
Hence, a total of 370, 000 regular and 150, 000 retired personnel will be participating in this mega security plan of security the election day through out the country, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has identified more than 18, 000 polling stations as sensitive, across the country, where CCTV cameras are instated as an added measure to monitor security situation. The ECP has further insured the secrecy of voters to not be violated as a result of this particular measure and that it will only be used for security purpose.
Security Provisions in KPK
A total of 96, 000 law enforcement personnel that includes of 22, 000 army soldiers has been deployed through all areas of KPK and Fata to ensure peaceful elections for the province – where security situation seems at most vulnerable and threat level the highest.
Briefing the media, director general Inter Services Public Relations, Major general Asim Saleem Bajwa said that a high level meeting was conducted in Peshawar, chaired by the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The presence of the Chief indicates the severity and urgency of the situation. The ISPR spokesman also informed about the successful completion, on 25th May, of transportation of ballot papers in KPK.
Further, saying that the transportation has been done with army security assistance by road and the army will keep the ballot in their protection until the day. “the chief has stressed upon the holding of peaceful elections and has also stressed upon the need to keep the security plan well coordinated,” informed Bajwa at the media briefing.
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Commenting particularly about the security of the KPK he added FR and suburban region of Peshawar he said that these areas will be combed for any miscreants and make sure that they are dealt with. Further, informing that coordination centers have been set up and all information about threats to voters, candidates and election staff will be scrutinized in these centers and handled appropriately.
Temporary Provision of Restricted Bore Weapons’ License
Peshawar administration announced that they will temporarily provide license for the restricted bore weapons to election candidates along with the provision of security guards. This decision came as a result of a high level meeting headed by commissioner Peshawar.
Provision of security guards to candidates will be on the particular duty until the 28th of July. This meeting bound election candidates to inform the administration of their election related activities, 24 hours before their occurrence, such as corner meetings, public meetings.
Impact of Tough Election Security 2018
With all these measures and provisions the political administrative and the law and order enforcement agencies has tried their best to ensure the security of the 2018 elections, however, even with all these airtight security plans the environment of the election seems tense and edgy.
Thus, conducting an election and not intending to postpone them, as suggested from all quarters both national and international, amid these tensions is a responsibility too great for the security enforcement of the country.
Whereas, at the same time we cannot neglect the fact that Pakistan Army has taken all these steps in order to ensure safe, secure and fair elections for the people of Pakistan. Whosoever win these elections but let’s pray that we all witness a prosperous Pakistan after it. InshALLAH!